BELARUS – RUSSIA
January 12th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 500 spectators
Best players: Kapov, Kakkoev
Post match comments
Raman Kirenkin, Head coach of team Belarus:
– The National Team of Russia deserves this victory. We tried to put up a fight by composing our games of quick attacks. We had enough power during the first 70 minutes of the match, and even had two opportunities to score in the first half. Unfortunately, we conceded instead of scoring. Substitutions did not make lot of difference and it became obvious that the discipline left something to be desired. We’ll try to figure out the reasons for this loss, as well as strive not to make the same mistakes to move on. This loss is bitter, but we earned it.
– It was evident before the match that you should make a huge score to get to the quarterfinal. Did you believe that you are capable of this?
– Yes, we aimed at a win only. The plan was to play in a defending style, and attack quickly using the zones behind Russian defenders. As I previously said, the first 70 minutes were not that bad, and if we used our chances, we would have changed the game balance and pushed forward. But after the first conceded goal we had to score five more. The guys were fighting and I would like to thank them for that, yet we have plenty of things to work on.
– The fourth place in the group does not seem to be a result that you wanted. What do you consider as the main reason for this: your opponents’ force, or your team’s condition?
– Losses teach much more than victories. It came to the fore that not all our boys are still able to play when they physically can’t. If a player loves himself in football, but not a football in him, we pursue different goals.
– Was it possible for you to follow performance of other teams? Can you outline someone?
– I liked team Greece; team Slovakia – for the second year, team Tajikistan for their quickness. Kazakhstan also had strong players. However, it is very difficult to compare the teams, because their level is very different, a number of players are just starting their season and coaches are making their trials.
Mikhail Galaktionov, Head coach of team Russia:
– The guys gained a victory, well done! The first 15 minutes we played as we planned, as well as the last 30. However, we did not show our best during other time: we moved the ball slowly, did not create chances to score. Our rival’s defense consisted of many players and we were not making them any trouble. I know Belarus as a very well-organized team, because I worked with players born in 1998, with whom I used to work. And, congratulations to our colleagues on their pass to the elite round.
– Team Russia did not concede any goal during three matches. Is it possible to assess your defense? Do you have enough opportunities to do this?
– Yes, our defenders did not have lots of work, and when dangerous moments occurred, they pulled them off. This can also be applied to defensive midfielders and forwards – to all players in the team.
– You will play against Bulgaria in the quarterfinal. How do you define their skills?
– Our coaches’ board representatives were on the match today, so we know a thing or two. We’ll watch their game together, talk over the key moments and instruct players how to react, but primarily we will count on our play.
– Did you watch performance of team Saint Petersburg? What can you say about their players?
– One of the players pleased me – but I won’t mention his name. Why is he not in the national team? I took guidance of the team ten days before the New Year but met players only on the 3rd of January. It was difficult to create a line-up, however, we talked a lot with Vladimir Kazachionok and Igor Simutenkov. We picked up some, but could also miss some.
– Your team took penalties five times in three matches. Is it a coincidence, or do you set a target to your guys to provoke your rival’s defenders?
– For sure, we ask our players to attack and sharpen the play, to create numerical advantage where needed and to take the initiative. The fact that forwards appear in the penalty area with a ball is already a good thing.
– Many coaches complain about lack of forwards, and in most tournament team applications there are no more than two of them. Do you have the same problem and what do you consider the main reason for this?
– Unfortunately many footballers tend to stop their training during sessions and do not work on themselves on their own. They see how older guys behave: they argue with coaches, go home in luxury cars. All these things change their priorities and their view on the world, especially when the first contract is signed. But we have talented boys in attacking group, the boys born in 1997 or 1998. Nikolai Obolskii and Anton Terekhov from “Dinamo” (Moscow), Fyodor Chalov from “CSKA”. As of born in 1999, Ignatiev from “Krasnodar” seems to be very good, and Golenkov from Samara as well. Unfortunately, both of them do not play here. Some were not allowed to come by their club, some are injured.