GREECE – SAINT PETERSBURG
January 21th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 3000 spectators
Best players: Tzovaras, Vartanyan
Ioannis Gkoumas, Head coach of team Greece:
– After a defeat in the semi-final the atmosphere in the team was disappointing. We took that loss close to our hearts. The fatigue became not only physical but also moral. That was our stance before the match. We started the game well today. But then we began making mistakes, and our opponents created several dangerous moments. After two conceded goals, our moral went down even more. We lost concentration, and only few things were successful.
– Can you say that the second goal became a turning point of the match?
– Yes, I can say so. We were stepping onto the pitch not being 100% ready, and that goal only added negative emotions. The guys looked crushed in the locker room. Moreover, we made another mistake after the half-time and conceded one more goal. Nevertheless I need to praise my players. Not only did they manage to score a goal in the second half, but they also found strength again and returned belief in themselves.
– How can you assess the general results of your team on the tournament?
– I am satisfied with the tournament, with the organization and the selection of participating teams. We got to watch our players in action, to discover more about their potential, to check capabilities of each one and to realize the direction for further work. The only thing I would like to mention is connected with the international status of the Granatkin Memorial. The participating teams come from different countries and it would be great if the refereeing would also correspond to the high status. At least, the referees would make mistakes against both teams – the hosts and the guests (sadly smiling).
Vladimir Kazachionok, Head coach of team St. Petersburg:
– It was an interesting match – a mini-final as I can call it. Passion, goals, duels – everything that the spectators want to see. We studied our opponent. Greece is one of few teams on this tournament that is playing itself and that is letting their opponents play. We managed to catch the Greeks on their mistakes, and this became the essence of our win today.
– We got an impression that your team was getting tired by the 60th minute in all of the six games here. You were winning at the 57th minute today. Was this the plan to score as many as possible by the moment you get tired?
– It’s easier than that. Today is Saturday, and the players arrived here from their homes after some rest – not from the football school. Secondly, I’ve told already that this tournament would be the only international competition for some of the guys in their career. That is why they had energy to run forward, including the match today.
– There was an attack of your team, and you were screaming to your player not to run forward. He could not hear you and he gave a great pass. What is better for you: creativity or discipline?
– Discipline is a priority for me and for the players, regardless the age.
– What’s the optimal tournament formula in your opinion? And what is the most suitable timing for your team?
– Early January is better, in my opinion – during the vacations. I like when kids can watch football, as they can learn much. As for the number of games – the more the better. These are the only six games on such a level that we have throughout the entire year. I’ve got no questions to the organization of the tournament. As for refereeing, I might reply to my colleague’s comment. I am not young already, and I got to travel around the world. I have been to Greece and I was playing there. So I can surely tell that our referees are angels compared to those in Greece (smiling).