RUSSIA – LATVIA
January 10th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 1500 spectators
Best players: Kakkoev, Soloveičiks
Mikhail Galaktionov, Head coach of team Russia:
– We supposed that this match will be difficult for us – and it was so. Last time we had press-conference, I mentioned, that the National Team of Latvia appears like a very strong, well-made squad. As of our performance, we lacked sharpness, pace and individual actions. An overall victory is still a success, especially due to the fact that we already made our way out of the group from the first place. Of course, now we must move on and improve our play, as today’s match has proved: all our future games will be hard enough for us.
– Were you a bit loosen up after an 8:0 victory in your previous game and after a sensational defeat of Belarus from India just before your match?
– Absolutely, the boys saw the end of the previous game, because they were warming up next to the pitch… But a player should understand, that if he appears on the field of play in the shirt of the National Team of Russia, he should assume his responsibility and apprehend the football he is obliged to play.
– During the first halftime it was obvious that Nikita Glushkov and Alexander Rudenko don’t feel themselves at the forefront of attack, as they are not used to play like forwards. Was it easier for the team to have Dmitrii Tsypchenko as a part of offence in the second half?
– We did not want to use rotation after the first match, so we started with the same squad. But, surely, variability is in need. We changed our tactics in the second half by replacing Rudenko to the wing, and by letting a very pushing forward like Tsypchenko go forth. However, to a certain extent, it really worked.
– The National Team of Russia shot four penalties in two matches in total, but scored only two points…
– I do not know guys’ skills very well yet. We have just met each other on January, 3rd. Today the penalties were supposed to be made by another player, so we’ll make some changes.
Aleksandrs Basovs, Head coach of team Latvia:
– We were preparing very carefully for this match, since we understood that the National Team of Russia is a very strong and serious opponent, with an extensive forefront of attack. We changed our tactics scheme, as compared to our first match on the tournament. The guys played very well, but we had problems while switching from defense to attack, which may be caused by little time to recover. There were also some questions about technique. I congratulate team Russia on a win. We will prepare for the next match, for the game against India is much of interest.
– You substituted Igors Kovaļkovs in the end of a match, but he joined the team on the field just in the first halftime. Did you have any complaints about his performance?
– You should understand – we’re at the very beginning of the season. The guys are not ready from a physical point of view. They have some sort of limits, so they got tired by the end of the match. We wanted to refresh our attacks by substitutions, but that did not work.