RUSSIA – FINLAND 3:3 (2:0)
January 9th, 2016, St. Petersburg, Peterburgsky SCC, 2500 spectators
Best players: Dmitry Kamenschikov, Niilo Maenpaa
Post match comments
Mihail Galaktionov, Head coach of team Russia:
– What can I say? We knew that Finland is a very difficult and strong opponent and we warned our guys. We carefully studied this team. But it turned out to be unfortunate. We were 2:0 ahead. Everyone in our team knows that this is a very "slippery" and dangerous score because you become falsely relaxed. Having scored a late goal in the first, we went to the dressing room and spoke about this once again. But a series of mistakes in defense led to a draw. This is the case when you are not happy with the result. It's good we qualified from the group.
– How was the necessity to get a result pressing you?
– We are trying to achieve several goals on this tournament. Yes, we are the hosts of the competition. But we also want to see new players in action and to create connections and understanding. We understood everyone expected bright play from us and only a positive result. And surely we knew we were playing in front of our supporters. That's why we did not have a right to make a mistake.
– Compared to the previous game with Moldova, was it easier or harder to play today with Finland?
– These are two completely different teams. Moldova plays tight on their side using the wings and fast counter-attacks. Finland let us play, but they also played openly and aggressively. As a coach I like open and spectacular football more.
– We all understand that the tournament is short. But still, how difficult is for your medical staff to keep the players in their best shape?
– Certainly they are doing their best. But we still lose players due to minor injuries and some simply don't have enough time to recover. Our problem is that we don't have many options to rotate players.
Alexei Eremenko, Head coach of team Finland:
– The game turned out to be very interesting. The result is deserved. There were some moments that both teams could not convert. We were nervous during the first minutes of the match. Our players looked slower than the Russians. They were losing the ball, losing high ball duels and lacked concentration. But we were improving our play with each minute. The time to show our character has come. Considering that this was the fourth game over a short period of time, it is much appreciated. Especially during this time of a year. It's only now that pre-season camps start in Finland. So what happened today – leveling the play and qualifying further – is the result of the common work of the coaches and the guys. We managed to prepare them for the game psychologically. I am very glad with my players, for I've seen their desire to win in spite of the fact that they were catching up the entire match. You know, people often give up in such moments, but if you haven't given up you have all the chances to succeed. That's why we kept attacking when the score was 3:3!
– Despite the task to save the match, you substituted Seesay, one of your leaders...
– I did it only because of the injury. He was playing with a plastered knee. He was on that wing in the situation with the second conceded goal. And he isn't a player you can run from. He plays very tight. But here he lost three meters. I had to substitute him.
– By the way, how are you feeling? How is your throat?
– Thank you, I've cured it a bit. Why are you asking?
– Because we could note two coordinators in the coach area today.
– Yes, I often get our second coach involved. We work together. So when I can't reach the players he can replace me.
– Have you counted the most advantageous variants for your team to further progress? (3:3 allows Finland to qualify with the condition that the team of St. Petersburg doesn't lose to Lithuania – author's note)
– To be honest, I tried to, but I got confused. I failed to understand it completely. But I did it for myself. I know we've already taken the second place. Naturally, we were aiming the guys at winning during the pre-match meeting. And I want to thank them for today's final result. I'm sure the spectators were also satisfied.
#25 Russia – Finland