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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Endures World Cup Hangover

ReutersRussia's Dmitry Kirichenko, left, is disconsolate as Slovakia teammates celebrate earning a playoff spot after a 0-0 draw in Bratislava on Wednesday.
Russia woke up on Thursday with a football-related hangover following another disappointing showing in a World Cup qualifying campaign.

"Auf Wiedersehen!" splashed the popular daily Sovietsky Sport on its front-page after Russia failed to reach next year's finals in Germany following a 0-0 draw against Slovakia in Bratislava in their final qualifier on Wednesday.

"We didn't reach Berlin. Slovaks stopped Russian players," echoed Rossiiskaya newspaper, alluding to the victorious Russian soldiers who captured the Nazi capital to end World War II.

Some of the Russian media sarcastically highlighted the street battles in Bratislava before and after the match.

"3-2 in our favor," said one headline in reference to the seriously injured Russian and Slovak fans.

Slovak police detained 37 Russian supporters, although all but five were soon released.

As Slovakia celebrated the point that put the nation on the brink of reaching the World Cup finals for the first time, Russians began some serious soul-searching.

"Enough is enough," was the verdict of Sport-Express.

"Football bosses, players, head and assistant coaches have all come and gone, but in the end the result was still the same: We failed to advance even from such a weak qualifying group as ours. Will someone ever take responsibility for all this?"

Russia has had four different managers in the last 3 1/2 years, but none was very successful.

Russian football chief Vitaly Mutko, who replaced long-serving president of the Russian Football Union Vyacheslav Koloskov in April, blamed his predecessor.

"How was it possible that we had to play the deciding match away to our rivals?" a furious Mutko told Russian media. "Who permitted such a schedule in the first place?"

Mutko hinted that Russia coach Yury Syomin, who replaced Georgy Yartsev midway through the qualifying campaign, should stay in the job and try to rebuild the team.

"As far as I see it, the problem was not our last match in Bratislava but rather our first qualifier [a 1-1 draw against the same opponents in Moscow] last September," Mutko said.

"We started our qualifying campaign on the wrong foot, and we never recovered. That draw in Moscow was our biggest strategic mistake."

Wednesday's draw was the latest in a series of disappointing performances by Russia in major international competition since the Soviet breakup.