Russia coach Georgy Yartsev has accepted full responsibility for his side’s elimination from Euro 2004 after their 2-0 defeat to Portugal.

“In my job I have total responsibility and I will never blame the players,” said Yartsev.

“I have chosen these players and I am responsible,” said a defiant Yartsev.

“We have lots of supporters who have come here to cheer us and we must repay them,” added Yartsev.

“In my life I follow one principle. I am responsible for what happens.

“I will never blame my players. I am proud of my youngsters, who fought hard against a very talented side.

“We win together and we lose together. It was me who lost this game.”

Yartsev refused to criticise Norwegian referee Terje Hauge, who sent goalkeeper Sergei Ovchinnikov off for handling the ball outside the penalty area.

The Russian coach said: “Ovchinnikov is 100% sure he did not handle the ball.

“On the sending off I will not comment as that’s not my role.

“The result is the result and it makes no sense to dwell on that.

“You have to judge. We do not have to comment on referees’ actions.

“I said we would have to face an angry and ambitious Portuguese team and it’s twice as hard to fight when you are down to 10 men.”