Belarus – Slovakia
Group A, 08.01.2016, 16:30
Best players: Pavel Kuptsou, lubomir Tupta
Post match comments
Mikhail Markhel, Head coach of team Belarus:
– I was criticizing my team after previous matches and I want to praise them today. It was a very good game. Certainly we understood the opponent could be tired. They had a very difficult game yesterday with team Russia. We knew this, but we did not count their fatigue only. So I was pushing my players to run forward and they were creating chances while playing safe in defense. They deserved this result.
– You chose a goalkeeper as the best player of the previous game. Weren't you tempted to name him the best today as well?
– You need to highlight not only the goalkeepers, but also the field players. Today I had a rich choice of candidates. And being a striker myself I decided to support our attacking player today. And, moreover, he has had a birthday recently. As said, all the players showed their best. But if you take that episode when our goalkeeper denied a penalty in the very beginning of the match, then, for sure, it gave us additional strength and confidence.
– Many coaches were saying in the beginning of the tournament that they didn't look at the standings and that it was important to see the players in action and to have a training camp. What's your opinion?
– I cannot speak for other teams, but I will reply for myself. I simply can't say to the players "Relax, the result is not important". This is not in my rules. Our objectives are at maximum. The players walk onto the pitch very determined. If you don't have this you won't have wins. Moreover, a lot of people are always supporting us, watching live broadcasts in the internet and on TV. We have to fight for our country in every match.
– In this case, what would be a success for team Belarus on Granatkin Memorial?
– Tomorrow we are having a very tough game with Japan. It will reflect the level of our integrity at this moment. I would consider semi-finals to be a success for us.
– Are you reading the press about our tournament? Do you know that some head coaches do not mention your team among the favorites?
– It does not make a difference. I am taking this easy. It might be even better. I have been coaching this team for four years and I can surely say that the stronger our opponent is the better we play. We did well in the elite round, having chances to qualify to the final stage till the very last match-day. We have a decent team.
Milan Malatinsky, Head coach of team Slovakia:
– First of all, please let me congratulate our opponent with a well-deserved win. As for our defeat, we were unsuccessful with the penalty in the very beginning and could not convert a number of chances. And in the second half we simply lacked time and energy.
– Is the player who took a penalty shot your usual penalty kicker?
– The players can decide who takes a penalty shot themselves in our team. I am not participating. The one who feels confidence goes to the spot.
– It's been less than a day since the end of your previous match. How have you been preparing for today's game?
– We had the tournament calendar with all our group stage matches before the beginning of the competition and we knew about tight schedule. That's why we didn't have any specific activities dedicated to tactics. We simply did everything to recover.
– Who's more to blame for a second goal conceded – a goalkeeper or a defender?
– We shall discuss this episode in the dressing room or in the hotel once we see the video. But I can already say that the reason is lack of understanding between the players and between the "lines". It might have been the goalkeeper who did not help with his voice, it might have been the player who was passing in a wrong direction, we'll see. It's surprising that these two footballers play for the same club. But I would not make a tragedy out of this. They are still boys.
#21 Belarus – Slovakia