LITHUANIA – MOLDOVA
January 15th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 spectators
Penalty shoot-out: Kažukolovas (1:0), Damascan (1:1), Mikalauskas (2:1), Mamaliga (2:2), Skaržauskas (2:2 – goalkeeper), Furtuna (2:3), Borodinas (3:3), Iurasco (3:4), Utkus (3:4 – missed)
Best players: Kažukolovas, Iurasco
Vytautas Vaškūnas, Head coach of team Lithuania:
– This is the first time you can see me sad. Congratulations to team Moldova! Our play is not as good as we wish it to be, but we are improving it already. We’re having more and more 2-3 minute well-played moment throughout the game with every match. I think that someday our entire game will consist of such moments.
– Your team scored all the goals in the end of the halves. Is it some special tactics or is it just a coincidence?
– I think that’s a character peculiarity. And it’s not only in this respect. We never give up, and we manage to score.
– Did you prepare for the penalty shoot-out?
– Yes, we practiced it yesterday. A penalty shoot-out is a lottery. I asked the players who wanted to take a shot, and I am very sad because only three players from the team replied they were ready. We should walk this path altogether and gain as much experience as we can. We should take any opportunities to test ourselves, even if it is very hard and bitter. However, it is also good that guys told the truth about their self-confidence. We should aspire to improve our play and learn more preparing ourselves for any situation.
– You played in a 4-2-3-1 formation like a German team used to. And you kept your lines very straight like an Italian team. Where is your team standing in a process of learning and forming your style?
– Thank you for a compliment! You eased my soul. We are indeed trying to follow our tactical formation, not just sending a ball forward. But our physical conditions do not let us easily play with such a scheme.
– You celebrated a birthday yesterday. How did your team congratulate you?
– Do you think we had drinks? (smiling) To tell you the truth, no one from the players or coaches drinks or smokes in our team. As for me, I haven’t drunk for ten years, but yesterday I let myself a little glass of red wine. My team traditionally lifted me into the air. They also got me a cake and brought me a book about Mourinho in Russian, and that’s very sweet of them. So I’ll kill two birds with one stone: I will practice my Russian and get acquainted with experience of a famous coach.
Oleg Fistican, Head coach of team Moldova:
– It was a hard game. We progress with every battle, but two games that we lost with a high score wounded us morally. We are working on our drawbacks. We try to play faster, to take possession of the ball, to play better in defense. But sometimes opponent’s pressure overcomes us and we make mistakes in easy situations. I guess that it can happen with young boys, so I always say “Well done!” to my guys. Such games form the character, which we lack sometimes.
– Did you know that team Lithuania can push harder in the end of the game?
– Yes, and their statistics speaks for itself. Lithuania is an ex-USSR country and the character of its inhabitants is very firm. I knew that football players can show it, and even the coach can do the same. We’ll think over these goals in particular. I said to my boys before the penalty shoot-out that maybe God wants us to have another test and see if we are capable to stand and shoot well. Yesterday I also asked my players if they knew what experience means and nobody had a good answer. Experience is a path you need to walk. This is mistakes that you need to learn to correct!
– After you scored you second goal you got an equalizer back quickly. What do you think was the main fault of your team today? And who will be punished the most?
– We try different approaches to the play. Experimenting and learning from that, we develop as a team. Do you know what I like the most in my boys? Once I talked to one of my players very seriously and told him about my disappointment with his performance, his struggle and his desire to play. I won’t mention his name as it’s not important, but in the end of this talk I asked him if he was ready to play. It was hard for him to accept it, but finally he answered that he was not ready. Then all the team approached him and tried to persuade him that he was good and that he was ready. That’s very touching!
– You seem to be very emotional during the match. Are you losing any weight?
– Yes, I am. I have not eaten for two days already. Maybe I’ll have some food today.
– Did you hold a rehearsal for the penalty shoot-out?
– We wanted to do it at home, but we had no opportunity, and we haven’t got any in Saint Petersburg either.