LITHUANIA – KAZAKHSTAN
January 13th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 spectators
Best players: Janušauskas, Kashken
Vytautas Vaškūnas, Head coach of team Lithuania:
– We lost this game, and I am sad about this. We now have a win, a tie and a defeat – a full kit. I cannot name certain reasons of the loss at the moment. We shall make an analysis and make conclusions then.
– You made two substitutions in the first half. One was caused by an injury. What caused the second one?
– It’s simple. I didn’t like the way the footballer was playing, and we changed him.
– The name of the player number 14 in your team is Ronaldas, but you call him Ronaldo. Does he feel more responsibility with such a nick-name?
– We only call him this way because it’s his name. Our guy and the famous player are not related. The last letter is not pronounced in our language, just like in my own name.
– You are calm and you keep smiling even after a defeat…
– Everyone’s healthy, life is beautiful, and the team got a lesson today. Moreover, we have a chance to take the second place in the group, in case Azerbaijan does not lose today, although you always want to be a master of your own fate. The game process is good by itself. The result is not that important. The guys are disappointed, and they might even be crying now. And this is good, because you need to live these emotions which are so important for the youngsters.
Alexander Kuznetsov, Head coach of team Kazakhstan:
– Let me thank the opponent, first of all. This is a very organized team. It’s difficult to crack their defense, as both Azerbaijan and Slovakia got to check this themselves. Today morning when I was in the hotel I told myself that our team can enter history becoming the first Kazakhstan team to reach quarter-finals on this tournament! I told our guys that the only ones who can bother this were themselves. Our game plan worked out and I say thank you to the players for devotion!
– You’re a great teller, and it’s a pleasure to listen to you. Have you ever been offered a job of a commentator?
– We created a channel on youtube. We even have a dedicated correspondent, as we want to make football more popular so that the players and the fans could watch us and could know where we are. This way we can report easier and also we can give interviews and talk about football a lot. Our friends and relatives are writing us, and the football federation is following our performance online on the website. This is very pleasant!
– You were telling your boys, especially in the first half, to attack through the central area and not the wings. Is this caused by a weak center of the opponent’s defense?
– I was telling to make passes from the wing to the center, whereas the guys were passing from the right wing to the Lithuanian defender who was managing to start counter-attacks with his very first touch. So I asked to “turn around” the defenders and to make passes behind their backs.
– You substituted number 17 in just five minutes after he walked onto the pitch himself. Did he fail to enter the play?
– This is surprising, and I cannot understand this myself. I will ask to make a detailed medical investigation of his stamina once he gets back to the club. He lacks energy and he keeps on beating his own record of the number of on-pitch minutes – 12, 10, 5. He becomes constrained and does not play till the end. All the substances in the body that work to produce speed disappear from frequent accelerations. We need to find the essence of this problem – whether it’s psychological or functional. That’s why I had to substitute him. We had five guys born in 2000 playing today. It’s hard when the opponents are older, but we work keeping perspective in mind. I had not asked to achieve any certain result before the tournament. The main goal is to define talented guys based on their sporting performance and to prepare players for the U-21 team – professionals both on and off the pitch, who are ready physically and educated tactically. This will be the main result of our work.
– You’re always wearing the cap. Is this your mascot?
– Yes, this is a present from the relatives. I’m trying to wear it every match. I forgot to take it with me to Moldova and we performed poorly on the “Sheriff” Cup – played 3-3 against Zenit. Not everyone went to Chisinau from the players. Only four guys came here from that squad. Sportsmen are superstitious. Today the coaches wanted to follow all the signs before the match, and I told them that we might not even need the players in such a case – simply follow all the signs!