BELARUS – LATVIA 0:0 pen. 5:4
January 23rd, 2016, St. Petersburg, Peterburgsky SCC, 300 spectators
Best players: Denis Shcherbitckii, Jevgenijs Kazacoks
Post match comments
Igor Kovalevich, Head coach of team Belarus:
– First of all, thanks for a great organization of the tournament. We had different objectives for this tournament. We wanted to take a higher place. Except for the first match, the folks played well. We saw a lot of players who will be representing our country in the European Championship qualifying matches shortly. It was an equal game today. The score is just, I think, and both teams could have scored as both had really good chances. As for the penalties, we were just more successful.
– Instead of Vasiluchek you had Shcherbitckii in the goals today who made several saves and who showed his best in a penalty shots series. Was it the choice you made on purpose?
– We were not guessing, we were planning. Vasiluchek had an injury before the tournament and so we counted on Shcherbitckii and Chichkan more, as Vasiluchek had to go to Samara. But we still called him. We wanted to play with three goalkeepers, but the first match was not good for us in terms of result, and we decided to make a rotation.
– How did you motivate the players for a non-decisive match - for they showed an interesting play?
– We still have chances to qualify for the European Championship, but we lost a number of players and we wanted to check who can replace them. This is the best motivation for the players that we invited here. We were suffocating during the first game, as we just changed outdoor trainings to indoor. That was the reason why we lost. I will add that being invited to the national team is already a sufficient motivation for players.
Dainis Kazakevics, Head coach of team Latvia:
– I liked the game in the whole. In spite of the fact that it's the fourth game in seven days, the teams played confidently. Everybody was striving, though both teams didn't manage to show their best. I think the 0:0 score does not completely reflect the course of the game. There was a draw, but it must have been more fruitful, for both teams had good moments to attack the goals. I personally viewed two good teams playing with a good attitude and desire. Of course, there was an impact caused by the game being the last. We changed our lineup, as well as the team of Belarus. The only thing we were not satisfied with was that we lost the penalty series once again. This was the third series which we failed to win recently. Therefore, we lack good luck sometimes and performance in other times. But in the whole I'm glad with my team and I consider this game to be our best on the tournament. Yes, we had mistakes, but I am speaking about the content. And besides, we had a high-level opponent who wouldn't let us get relaxed.
– Will you be training penalty series from now on?
– We'll train to score one more goal in the game than the opponent.
– You've got the fourth place, the one that's not awarded. How were you motivating the players to show such an intensive play?
– My team is always motivated. They always play eagerly. And each friendly game is like gold for us. Our squad is good and willing to play. And why should one motivate players who play for their national team?
– It seemed that your team lacked good attackers. The team plays skillfully in the midfield, approaches the goals, but fails to finish the attack. There's nobody to make a decisive shot...
– We have good attackers. But Gutkovskis missed two games and failed to show his best today. He fell out of the game's tempo. Although he is a very strong central forward scoring at all the tournaments, today he didn't manage to do everything he wanted. And generally scoring is the most difficult thing in football. We lacked skills in some moments. Just remember the moment in the first half when the player rushed. He decided to make a one-touch shot and missed the goals, though the opponent's goalkeeper played excellent as well.
– Ikaunieks looked not as good as previously. Was it because he missed some games due to the injury?
– Yes, he missed much. He played the first game on the tournament. Today we let him play only from substitution, for twenty minutes. And our attacking potential got much lower. But there are other guys to prove they are rightly called to the national team. Situations with red cards and injuries will always happen, and the substitutes should show that they are able to replace the ones who are missing games. And some have shown themselves brilliantly. For example, it was Kolesovs, the central back. He played very well, though failed to score the decisive penalty. I liked his play.