BULGARIA – ESTONIA
january 8th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 spectators
Best players: Zlatkov, Pihelgas
Post match comments
Viktorio Pavlov, Head coach of team Bulgaria:
– Good afternoon! Our pre-game training and sleep were jeopardized by lack of equipment, as we faced an unexpected problem on the eve of the match: 12 luggage units were lost at the airport and we obtained them just yesterday at midnight. Nevertheless we played a good game today. Our opponent from Estonia made quite an impression on us, but we held the initiative in our hands. However, we did not score.
– There are several younger players in Team Bulgaria, born in year 2000 and 2001. Why did you include them to the first team?
– To tell you the truth, most known Bulgarian clubs did not allow their players to participate in the Granatkin Memorial. Moreover, we have only one player from the first team who was born in 1999, thus, we have the second team participating here.
– Why didn’t you make any substitutions during the first 60 minutes of the match?
– There is a football saying worth remembering: “If everything goes fine, don’t try to change it”. Please, let me underline, that I am satisfied with team’s performance, even though we did not score.
Lars Hopp, Head coach of team Estonia:
– Good afternoon! We also had similar problems with the squad, as my Bulgarian colleague mentioned previously. We did not have an opportunity to bring the strongest players born in 1999 to Saint Petersburg, so we decided to call for younger boys to defend the honor of Estonia – and they did not fail. All players tried to show their best, although it was very difficult due to the size of the Sport Complex and field dimensions.
– How long did it take to prepare for the Granatkin Memorial?
– Not very long. In Estonia, we change players and coaches at the beginning of the calendar year. Taking into account the 1st and the 2nd of January that were a part of a weekend, we started training on the 3rd of January setting the team basis for the tournament.
– You have been shouting “Mario, control!” to Mario Kuokkanen all match long. Why did this central midfielder receive that much of your attention?
– You already mentioned that he is a central midfielder – he plays on a very important position, that’s why I kept remembering him to control the game in this part of a field. I try to use simple international words to be understood by all players, which was also mentioned by journalists (smiling).