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    Russian businessman keeps Euro 2008 Mercedes pledge to Croatia

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    A LUKoil vice-president announced on Thursday that he would keep his promise to give Mercedes cars to Croatian players after the Balkan side beat England 3-2 at Wembley.

    MOSCOW, November 22 (RIA Novosti) - A LUKoil vice-president announced on Thursday that he would keep his promise to give Mercedes cars to Croatian players after the Balkan side beat England 3-2 at Wembley.

    Leonid Fedun, who is also the owner of Spartak Moscow, pledged to give a Mercedes to the four best Croatian players in the event of the side winning their Euro 2008 tie in London on Wednesday night.

    The move came after Russia had lost 2-1 to Israel on Saturday, leaving the national side needing a win in Andorra coupled with an England defeat to progress to the final stage of the tournament, to be held in Austria and Switzerland next summer.

    "I will fulfill my promise 100%," said Fedun, adding that it was up to the Croatians to decide which players received the cars.

    "It would be logical to suppose that Pletikosa [who is also Spartak's goalkeeper] and the three players who scored will get them," the businessman added.

    Russia beat Andorra 1-0 to book their place at Euro 2008.

    However, Ivica Olic, formerly of CSKA, and the scorer of Croatia's second goal, rejected suggestions that this or any other undisclosed financial incentives offered by Russian businessmen contributed to the team's performance.

    "The money wasn't important," he said. "We played for our homeland, for Croatia. I have many friends in Russia from my days at CSKA, and my heart beats for the Russians. I'm glad I could give them this present".

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