FINLAND – KAZAKHSTAN 1:0 (1:0)
January 6th, 2016, St. Petersburg, Peterburgsky SCC, 150 spectators
Best players: Benjamin Kallman, Akmar Bakhtiyarov
Post match comments
Alexei Eremenko, Head coach of team Finland:
– I am very happy with the first half. We are playing much better, at least compared to the previous game with Moldova. This time we started to play smarter and created many chances. This is all about the first half – good passing, ball control, nice movement and thinking. I have made several substitutions in the second half to give players some rest and to see the reserves and certainly the game changed. Kazakhstan began to use high pressing, but we kept the score and eventually earned three points – the result everyone will remember.
– Please, let us congratulate you and your entire team who have no doubt watched ice hockey yesterday and rooted for your national team!
– Thank you very much! Everyone was indeed supporting our National Ice hockey team of Finland and we were happy with the win. I think they woke up a lot of guests in the hotel. I heard them shouting and went to check why – that's when they told me. As for my preferences in this kind of sport, then it's the national team of Russia.
– You are such an international person. What language are you using to communicate within the team?
– Mostly English as it's easier for me. But I can also use Swedish and a little bit of Finnish.
– You are a bit hoarse today. Did you shout a lot during the game?
– No, I was already like this when I arrived today. I have a sore throat. Finland is close to St. Petersburg and we're also having frost there. I called home today and was told they have minus 19.
– Speaking about the tournament, could you tell which opponent was harder to play against: Moldova or Kazakhstan?
– I've told already that there are no obvious strong or weak teams here. Every team is unique in its own way. Both our opponents used high pressing. But if Moldova apparently tried to play counter-attacks, "throwing" the ball behind our back, Kazakhstan chose to play combinations and to control the ball more.
– Two of your players – Ceesay number 2 and Soisalo number 10 – were the highlights of the game today...
– You know I am experimenting all the time now. To repeat myself, I see some of the players for the first time. I am trying to find bonds and the best player-position fit. Today Ceesay was playing on a position he's not much used to and he showed his best skills. In fact, the former applies to Soisalo and all the other players of our team.
Oirat Saduov, Head coach of team Kazakhstan:
– I think with respect to football the game was good and brisk. Spectators like such matches. Of course, Finland had an advantage, was fresher and played a little better. And while my colleague is content with the first half, I want to appraise my guys for the second part of the game as they showed the football that we want to see.
– It's the second game straight when your player gets injured almost in the very beginning. Do they have a poor warm-up?
– There was a collision in the previous game, as you've seen it yourself. He was examined by MRT and diagnosed with of crucial ligament tear. And today our player got injured already at the warm-up. He hoped, as well as we, that the injury wasn't serious, but three minutes after the starting whistle it was clear that he wouldn't be able to play. Now we lack our two main insides. This is a big problem for us.
– We've noticed a curious thing today: your team gains momentum by the 60-65th minute without substitutions. How can you explain it?
– Most probably they get "second breath". The guys see that they can strengthen the game and they feel they can improve. And I am guiding them from the coach area during the entire match.
– It's the fourth tournament day. Who is the favorite, in your opinion?
– Without hesitation: Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia!
#11 Finland – Kazakhstan