GREECE – LATVIA
January 15th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 spectators
Penalty shoot-out: Ntalakouras (1:0), Čudars (1:0 – goalkeeper), Manolakis (2:0), Grīnbergs (2:1), Bousis (2:1 – goalkeeper), Soloveičiks (2:2), Chatzistravos (3:2), Saveļjevs (3:3), Kampetsis (4:3), Petunovs (4:4), Tampas (5:4), Smuļko (5:5), Chatzidimpas (6:5), Savčenko (6:6), Tzovaras (7:6), Litvinskis (7:7), Papadogiorgakis (7:7 – missed), Ķipsts (7:7 – missed), Kostanasios (8:7), Pelcis (8:7 – goalkeeper)
Best players: Ntalakouras, Litvinskis
Ioannis Gkoumas, Head coach of team Greece:
– Today we hold the initiative and mostly played on our opponent’s side. We had more chances to score, but we did not use them. If only we could convert at least some of the chances, we could have secured favorable high score in the first half already. I remembered a famous football proverb: “If you do not score, your opponent will!”, and I was really scared a bit that Latvia will put the ball in our net during one of its counter-attacks.
– You made only two substitutions in the half-time. Why?
– A couple of our players were not ready for the match: some of them were ill, and some of them were injured. We put together our starting line-up depending on this fact. And I guess we succeeded at finding eleven players that were 100% ready to play.
– Did you expect a penalty shoot-out before the match?
– No, we were not even preparing for it. We watched our opponent’s games and analyzed them, created strategy and chose tactics. We wanted to score in the regulation time.
– What was needed to use the chances today?
– Although we created a lot of moments, we did not score. On the one hand, we lacked concentration and clear mind in the late phase of our attacks. In some moments it was pure luck that was against us. Unfortunately, we cannot always have an influence.
– Which song were the boys singing at the end of the match?
– The team was singing the same song that our entire country had sung celebrating our victory at EURO 2004. I think it does not have a name. It’s just a song that our fans sing.
Aleksandrs Basovs, Head coach of team Latvia:
– Congratulations to the team of Greece on a deserved victory! We knew that this team was very strong from the technical point of view, so we were preparing with accuracy. To tell the truth, we put a bet on defense, and I am satisfied with overall performance of the team. A penalty shoot-out is a lottery. The luck was on the side of the Greeks.
– Daniils Isačenko was playing the goalkeeper today and he did it outstandingly denying the shots and making a number of wonderful saves. Who is the leading goalkeeper in your team?
– He is the key goalkeeper in our team.
– Your players started to look tired by the 60th minute of the match. Were you trying to keep the score after?
– We understood that Greece was playing better. Our psychological and physical strengths were running out and we really tried to keep the score. I knew that we had players capable of taking penalty shots well. So maybe deep inside, I was counting on penalties, although we had not trained them.
– Counting on defense, how were you planning to win?
– We were hoping that counter-attacks will help us as well as set pieces. If you remember, we also had sufficient dangerous moments at the opposing goals.