SLOVAKIA – LITHUANIA
January 11th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 spectators
Best players: Kudlicka, Putrius
Milan Malatinsky, Head coach of team Slovakia:
– We were controlling the entire match. We had many scoring chances throughout the game, but we were unable to score.
– Why did you make nine changes in the starting line-up compared to the previous match?
– We brought twenty players to this tournament, and we want to see everyone in action. As I said, each player would have an opportunity to show his skills on the pitch.
– How were you preparing for the match against Lithuania?
– We saw the video records of their match, and we tried to take into account all peculiarities of their style of play. We had several tactical schemes. The match progress can be very different in both adult and youth football, and you need to be ready for such a variety. We were unlucky in this game as we did not score. In case the same situation happens in the next match, then, I think, I will go to the pitch myself to try to score!
– Which line in your team has the biggest potential to become stronger?
– We’re having our next game against Azerbaijan. This is a very strong opponent. We’re starting active preparation for this fixture. We’ll develop a game plan. We’ll be attentive to the way the match progresses and we’ll be making necessary changes. Health and physical condition of the players will also be a factor to keep in mind. Some of our players were not 100% healthy. In any case, we’ll walk onto the pitch to play football. There’s only one to win!
Vytautas Vaškūnas, Head coach of team Lithuania:
– The match was very difficult, and we are happy that we managed to get one point. The opponent was very strong, so it’s a valuable point. It is so for us, at least. It might be different for Russia, for instance. The Slovaks are very well prepared. They were creating many difficulties for our team. I’ve told we are happy about the result, but as for the game process, I can say that our coaching staff is not satisfied with what we saw on the pitch.
– And still, you’re heading the group now…
– Oh, thank you!
– Let me thank you, above all! You’re in a great mood. Before the beginning of the match we could hear music coming from your locker room. What was it about?
– We have a wonderful team host here, Olga, who can confirm you that it’s our tradition. We have music following us everywhere – in the bus, in the locker room. Our vice-captain has an audio system that he turns on. We always have positive music. The songs in the playlist are different. We’ve got Russian songs as well. Every element of preparation is important, and the music energizes you.
– We noticed that you’re also singing your anthem very emotionally…
– Oh, yes! We have such a line in our anthem that can be roughly translated into other language as “come back centuries ago and take the strength of your ancestors”! You know, even now when I am pronouncing this line I’ve got goosebumps all over my body. These are very strong words! And I see how well they influence our team and give us strength.
– Last press-conference you told us that you wanted to play attacking football, but you had been unsuccessful. What about today?
– You wrote about this in the press release, and Lithuania read and imagined a team that wants, but cannot fulfill (smiling). I am still ready to repeat those words again now. We always want to play attacking football, always want to show beautiful play and always want to win. But there’re two teams on the pitch, and we play the way our opponents let us.
– We were watching your player number eight – Janušauskas. It seemed he was not feeling well…
– You seem like following us! Seriously speaking, he was a little ill, and we had to substitute him. We shall give him treatment.