JAPAN – LITHUANIA 2:2 (0:2)
January 7th, 2016, St. Petersburg, Peterburgsky SCC, 300 spectators
Best players: Kanya Fujimoto, Deividas Sesplaukis
Post match comments
Atsushi Uchiyama, Head coach of team Japan:
– We failed to show good play in the first half. Our team lacked actions, so I had to give them more explanations during the half-time. And after the substitutions we made in the second half they started to play better and managed to equalize the score. And I'd like them to play in the next game like they were playing today in the second half.
– How would you evaluate the level of referee work on the tournament? Do you have any objections or are there no problems with it?
– I think the level of referees on the tournament is quite high; we have no problems with them. They work very well.
– It's a great pity that you gave so little time for your "star" Ryotaro Ito to play: he spent only half an hour on the pitch but he managed to gain a penalty kick, to score a goal himself and to help his partner score. Maybe you should have let him play the entire match?
– It would have been good to let him play more, for he really saved today's game, but I considered it necessary for other players to have a chance to play on the pitch, to feel the atmosphere of the tournament and to gain experience. Ryotaro Ito, in my opinion, still has something to work at. He still needs instructions, he needs to make decisions better. But I am ready to let him play the entire next match.
Svajunas Cesnulis, Head coach of team Lithuania:
– It's a pity a little that we conceded two goals on the last minutes. But in the whole I am happy with this match. We changed the game plan and decided to play three central backs. And these three got tired by the end of the game. That's why they were unable to decently meet the fresh Japan players that newly went in. In previous two matches we had made substitutions that gave more strength to the team. This time, I think, the replacements were not that efficient.
– You changed the game plan and played three central backs, but in the second half you were playing practically ten defenders. Was it Japan who started to play better so that your team couldn't even get on their side?
– We played well in the first half, scoring two goals, but the players gave up noticing remarks of the coaching staff in the second. We began to clear the ball, not thinking about counter-attacks. Simple play to kick the ball somewhere far from our goals. And though we had two strikers they couldn't do their job, because they had to play defensive. We asked the guys to get calm. But our words couldn't reach them.
– Could this be explained by the fact that in the first half Lithuania's side was near your bench and in the second your players simply could not hear you as they were on the other side?
– Yes, you might have seen that I almost lost my voice in the second half, trying to communicate with players. We even wanted to send our coach to that side, but it's forbidden by the rules, unfortunately.
– We liked Ryotaro Ito in team Japan and it seemed that you nominated a certain player to play against him.
– Yes, this is a very good player, but we didn't play against him individually.
– You were leading almost the entire match, but eventually lost the lead in five minutes and could even have lost the game. How do you think this situation will influence the players?
– This is a good experience. They need to know that the game lasts till the final whistle and that you cannot celebrate victory till it's over. It's sad to concede two goals in the very end and to lose the likely win, but this is also your experience and you need to learn this.
– What feelings are prevailing in you – happiness from the first point on the tournament or disappointment from the lost victory?
– It's a shame we lost victory, but if someone told me before the match that the final result would be 2:2, I would have agreed with such a score.
#16 Japan – Lithuania