Russia's coach attacks Kharin

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The Independent Online
Dimitri Kharin, the Chelsea goalkeeper, was yesterday accused being more interested in making money from Euro 96 than playing in it. Kharin came in for criticism from Oleg Romantsev during the Russian coach's resignation speech in the wake of his side's first-round exit from the tournament.

In a 90-minute speech at a Russian football federation meeting in Moscow, Romantsev accepted blame for the team's performances in England, which included a 2-1 defeat by Italy, a 3-0 rout by Germany and 3-3 draw with the Czech Republic.

Romantsev admitted his team selections had been at fault but he attacked Kharin, Igor Shalimov and Sergei Kiriakov accusing them of setting poor "ethical standards" by being interested "mostly in financial issues at the expense of the game".

Russia went into Euro 96 in disarray. Romantsev sent Kiriakov home for "dissent" and made wholesale changes to a team severely criticised for not showing enough character.

The Russian football federation have named assistant coach Boris Ignatyev to replace Romantsev, who had taken over the team following the squad's disappointing performance at the 1994 World Cup.

Porto, the Portuguese champions, have filled the vacancy left by Bobby Robson's departure to manage Barcelona by appointing Antonio Oliveira, the 44-year-old coach of the national team. Under Oliveira, Portugal reached the quarter-finals of Euro 96 where they lost to the eventual beaten finalists, the Czech Republic. A former Porto player,Oliveira has also coached Sporting Lisbon, Guimaraes and Maritimo.

Diego Maradona has said he wants to make an international return to football, two years after he was expelled from the World Cup finals in the United States for drug-taking. "People ask me to and some old faces can still contribute some things," he said.