Russia worried about Euro 2004 refereeing -- with good reason?

From Soccernet :

Russia voice refereeing concerns

MOSCOW, June 10 (Reuters) - Russia are worried they won't receive equal treatment from referees in their Euro 2004 games against Portugal and the hosts' neighbours Spain.
The Russians play Spain in their opening Group A game on Saturday when Portugal take on Greece.

Asked about his main concern ahead of Euro 2004, Russia captain Alexei Smertin said: '[Fair] officiating is certainly on our minds.

'Playing in the same group as hosts Portugal and Spain, who are seen almost as co-hosts, the officiating has to worry you in a certain way.

'I just hope it will be fair to all the teams and it won't affect the outcome of matches.'

Playmaker Alexander Mostovoi, Russia's most experienced player, said he was convinced Portugal would get preferential treatment from match officials.

'I can recall the last World Cup (in Japan and South Korea), where Spain were simply dumped out in their quarter-final against Korea by bad refereeing in the bluntest possible fashion,' Mostovoi was quoted as saying by Sport-Express newspaper.

'They wanted to give medals to the host country at any cost and they achieved their goal,' said the Celta Vigo captain, who has spent eight seasons in the Spanish league.

'And now I have little doubt that referees are more likely to help Portugal than Russia. This is just a reality and I'm afraid there is nothing we can do about it.'

People thought I was crazy when I was saying that South Korea was handed a place in the semifinals, but when even teams that didn't play them at all are saying it.......


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