KAZAKHSTAN – SLOVENIA
January 16th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 spectators
Best players: Oral, Gorenc
Post match comments
Alexander Kuznetsov, Head coach of team Kazakhstan:
– I thank my colleague for the greetings and I also want to say thank you to our fans who were supporting us today. Many of them have come here specifically to route for us during the play-offs stage. I spoke to the players before the match and asked them to actively cover their 10-12 kilometers on the football pitch not saving energy and to play for their fans who made such a long way to St. Petersburg. The guys heard me and played on 100%, so I thank them enormously. We had a very serious preparation for this match against Slovenia. I consider it as one of the best on this tournament with regard to player skills as well as playing content. It was not accidently that they won the Granatkin Memorial last year.
– We did not see your captain in the team list today...
– Yes, Dinmukhammed Kashken had to leave the national team for his club main team – Astana. Our coaching staff spent much time thinking who could replace him, as Kashken is a serious loss for us. I am happy that Sanzar (Batyrkhanov – note by the editor) managed to play well on Dinmukhammed’s position.
– Kazakhstan will be playing in semi-finals of the Granatkin Memorial for the first time in its history which is already a big achievement. How are you going to prepare for Greece, a very serious opponent?
– The Greeks are physically strong. We shall study their games and we’ll try to play disciplined with regard to tactics. As for now, we need to recover. Thank you for highlighting our achievement, it’s very pleasant for us. But I told the players right after the match that from that time on it was just statistics. Why can’t we try to develop this success now and prove ourselves that we are capable of more?
– You have a lot of young players born in 2000, and you also have just one forward in your team list…
– I have to highlight that the younger ones play key role in our team! We are often criticized for playing with one forward only, but, in fact, we are playing 4-3-3 offensively. If entire Kazakhstan used this scheme, we would have used it more for our national team matches. As for now, I am choosing the tactical formation that brings results and helps the players develop.
Igor Benedejčič, Head coach of team Slovenia:
– As you saw, the match began badly for us, because we conceded a goal on the very first minutes. We managed to create chances at the opposing goals after, but failed to convert them. Today we did not have enough explosive moves. I congratulate Kazakhstan on a win. This is a strong team and the victory is well-deserved.
– You team got a high score win against St. Petersburg in your last match. Wasn’t that the reason you felt relaxed today?
– In fact, we were well prepared for this game against Kazakhstan and we were playing well. The game plan was good, but when you concede on the first minutes, you need to change the plan. We were trying to equalize, but we were failing and this influenced the entire match progress. I think that if the match started differently, we would have had a completely different result.
– Why did you substitute one of the defenders in the first half already?
– Jurij Španja went in. He’s a defender who also has good attacking skills. We wanted to use this quality of his today. In our situation he seemed to fit the new tactical scheme better than the defender who started the match.