We do not recognize compromises!
XXVII Valentin Granatkin Memorial has come to final stage. 80% of scheduled matches have passed, 36 games were played in a tough time-table of 2 group stages.
There will be the most delightful dish for fans for dessert on Sunday 11th of January. 9 matches of the final stage will define the place holders and especially prize holders.
In conclusion for the first group stage of the tournament we have paid our attention to persistent unwillingness of the teams to finish matches with the boring draw. Let's remind that in 18 matches of the first group round there was no score 0:0. We can confirm that the main stream under the title "refusal from goalless matches" on the tournament is going on. Now by the end of the second group stage we have the following proportion: 1 from 36! The only match, that has fallen out from the harmonious row was Japan – Finland (0:0). The record wasn't set... How could it be beautiful to have all the matches without the draw 0:0!
But the Finnish team is the only most peace loving squad on the tournament. Finland finished matches with the draw twice (also the game with Korea Republic ended with 1:1). 2 draws of Finland is a half of all draws of the tournament for the moment. In the matches St. Petersburg – Greece (2:2) and Bulgaria – Latvia there were no winners. Participants of youth football tournament vote for no compromises.
The most uncompromising team and ruthless to the opponents is a team of Russia with a head coach Sergey Kiryakov. Former forward of national teams of USSR, CIS and Russia makes the obvious accent for attack and the teams of Moldova, Lithuania, Slovenia and Belarus had an unpleasant opportunity to be convinced of that. Players of Kiryakov win the matches in a progress line: 2:0, 2:0, 4:0 and 6:0!!! (they also do not forget about confident defense, as the result goalkeeper from Rubin Kazan in St. Petersburg hasn't let in at all). But in the final match with high-disciplined and well-trained Korea Republic won't be so productive. Team of the head coach An Iksoo has scored twice less goals on the tournament comparing to Russian (7 to 14) but has nearly the same confident defense. Only one goal Korean team let in (in the start match with Finland and then 3 dry winning matches).
There is an additional intrigue in the final match. There are three best scorers on the tournament for the moment: player of Lokomotiv Moscow Nikolay Kipiani, representative of Spartak Moscow Georgy Melkadze and Kang Jihun from south Korean football school Yungho. All of them will be on the pitch of Peterburgsky SCC in the final match Russia – Korea Republic. It will be an interesting duel.
There will be some surprises for sure in the match for the third place between the teams of St.Petersburg, which is highly supported by the fans, and Slovenia, who pretend to make a peculiar record. If Slovenian team ends its last match on the tournament with the draw and then wins in the penalty shootout, it will turn out that Slovenia took third place of 18 teams with negative difference of scored and missed goals! It is the result of devastating defeat from Russia with the score 0:4.
As for the team Russia-2 under the direction of Mikhail Galaktionov, they will solve in the match against Kazakhstan much smaller task – how can they take not the last place on the tournament in St.Petersburg. Also we should give a discount that team Russia-2 consists of players of 1997 y.o.b. and not 1998 y.o.b. as in all others teams. But we must note that the youngest team on the tournament has lost all 4 matches with the difference of 2 goals (2:4, 1:3, 0:2 and 1:3). Amazing stability!