Published: Wednesday, 18 January 2017 10:23




January 18th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 700 spectators

Best players: Papadogiorgakis, Ustimenko


Post match comments

Ioannis Gkoumas, Head coach of team Greece:

– I sincerely congratulate the team of Kazakhstan. As for myself, I am very disappointed. It was us who lost this game. Big mistakes that our players made are the reason of the defeat. We even conceded a goal playing against ten opponents. Before the match I knew that Kazakhstan would play defensively. That’s why I told the players to make first long passes. Not everyone followed our instructions. Some of the players did not show their best today. In my opinion, we looked better than the opponent, but this is football.

– How can you explain so many mistakes in defense?

– I’ll repeat that not everyone managed to be 100% ready for this match. Some were fatigued after several games throughout such a short period of time. Hence, they were making mistakes. Usually our goalkeeper is interacting with defenders and other players. But today they lacked this due to tiredness.

– Greece was one of the best teams with regard to goals scored at the group stage. What happened to your attacking line in play-offs?

– You noticed it right – we were not scoring much in two latest games. I think it’s due to lack of concentration at the final stage of our attacks. These are young players. But I know how to correct this, so we’ll have things to work on.

– Which team would you like to see as you opponent in the match for the bronze medals?

– Our goal was to play in the final match. I am sure we would have been playing against Russia then and would have been showing sparkling football. But we lost today, and now it does not matter which team we’ll be playing. Though, I think it will be Saint Petersburg.


Alexander Kuznetsov, Head coach of team Kazakhstan:

– I congratulate all of our fans here and in Kazakhstan. This is a reality, this is not a dream. There’s a lot of work of the coaching staff and there’s maximum devotion of our players on the pitch that stand behind this victory. Today our guys executed the game plan in full. They were fighting like the lions, despite the fact that Greece had an advantage of one additional day to recover prior to this match. Our player was sent off during the match. I am not commenting on the refereeing as it’s not my business. My players are young, and they need to control their emotions. But I am still thankful to them. You may know that our U-17 team had the last official match played in 2015, and we played against Greece then. We were defeated 0:6. This fact served as additional motivation for us. We took revenge today. We dedicate our win to the fans. Also I would like to dedicate my personal win as a coach to my first tutor Boris Tulaev, the youth coach. I started to work as a coach fourteen years ago thanks to him.  

– Did you have any specific preparation for this match?

– Yes, we had enough material and we studied Greece very well. We were analyzing their games in detail yesterday till very late. They open their wings often. Our players needed to make a quick transition from defense to attack via the sides of the pitch. And our guys were doing this. When Greece got a quantitative advantage, they ran forward leaving empty zones. So we could have scored even more – four more goals for sure. I told the team that Greece was physically strong. This is a peculiarity of their region as players develop athletically earlier. So we could only counter this with our team spirit, character and mutual assistance. We are often criticized for playing defensively. But if you look attentively at the percentage of the ball deliverance to favorable positions then you’ll see that our team is one of the best. Some teams simply make passes back and forth not creating anything dangerous for the opponents, whereas we’re playing football.

– Football in Kazakhstan attracted attention from abroad recently. The football stars began to move to play in your country. How does this influence the preparation of young players?

– It has a very positive influence. I do really think that our football is experiencing growth now. Many clubs – Kairat, for instance – are conducting competent selective policy. They signed Andrey “the barber” (a nickname of Andrey Arshavin that he received winning a bet against a journalist and cutting off his hair). So he’s living his second youth now as one of the best players in the national Championship. Young players have a lot to learn from him. Kazakhstan is now in the UEFA jurisdiction, and this certainly influenced the football development in a positive way, because the level of football became higher.

– Which team would you like to meet in the final match?

– You’re all coming from St. Petersburg, right? So I wish your team to reach the final and to become our opponent!

– Could you imagine you would be playing in the final of this tournament?

– I said in one of the interviews in the beginning of the tournament that one should not require us to win every match. I deliberately eased the tension around the team. Winning is in my nature, and I always want to win. Iэму always had belief in my guys. But our main target is to prepare for the European Championship qualifiers. 





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