Published: Tuesday, 17 January 2017 11:23



Match for the positions: 9-12

January 17th, 2017; Saint Petersburg, St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, 300 spectators

Best players: Sorga, Garaev



Post match comments

Lars Hopp, Head coach of team Estonia:

– It was a difficult game for us with regard to physical load as not all the players managed to recover after four previous matches. But all the teams are in the same conditions, so I am not complaining. I told the guys after the match that I saw their desire to show their maximum, but the opponent was objectively better today.

– How was your team planning to score? It seemed that you were having difficulties attacking.

– If you want to play possessing a ball, you need to make quality passes and you need to have good movement. If you want to move deep into the opponent’s side, then you need to dribble and to win one-on-one duels. I haven’t seen the stats yet, but it’s clear that we are behind Azerbaijan with regard to these components.

– You told us earlier that your team gathered only recently and that it was gaining important experience here. Are your players progressing?

– It’s an individual process, as some of the players develop faster and some – slower. As if you’re building a house – when the foundation is ready, then you begin to build the first floor. One of the parts of the foundation in football is fitness. I cannot demand the players to move to next levels in case they have problems with the very first. It is in such games as today where we can check what each player is capable of and where his maximum is. If a footballer gives everything on the pitch, then recovers and is ready to play on a high level once again – his becomes better, and he grows as a player. I am positively watching at the future of our players.

– Your team was two goals behind, but gaining possession only one player was running deep into the opponent’s side supported by two others in midfield. The rest of the team stayed on your own side. Didn’t they have a natural wish to equalize?

– It’s fitness again. We’re trying to make everything to win and we‘re not saying that 0:2 is a good result. We’re really trying. But the players spend too much energy, and we lack stamina in the end.

– Henri Perk was playing the goalkeeper today, although Ingmar Paplavskis had had a good game before. Why did you change the goalkeeper?

– I agree that Ingmar played really well during the previous two games. But at the same time I am trying to give a chance to all the players. That’s why it was Henri who was playing goalkeeper today.

– As a foreign coach, could you tell us what the peculiarities of football development in Estonia are?

– It would be great if after my ten years of work in Estonia I managed to keep fresh view on football in the country, but I think this is not the case. I consider that there are fundamental things in football that you need to remember. I hear this question often: “What do you think the next step for football in Estonia should be?” But the answer is still the same – you need to strengthen the foundation, before you move to the next level. It’s a peculiarity of small countries – after the very first success the people are waiting for the next and expecting the development to become faster. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. And here we stumble at fitness again – if you cannot run fast, you cannot play well.


Tabriz Hasanov, Head coach of team Azerbaijan:

– It’s pleasant when your team wins with a high score, especially after previous matches on this tournament where we had problems converting our chances. Our opponents were playing defensively today, and it was their fifth match with such tactics. I think this is good for us, because we can gain much experience of play against defensive teams. We’ll be preparing for the upcoming match now for the 9th place against Belarus. The final place is not important for us now, it’s essential to keep on winning.

– The first goal that your team scored was stunning, maybe even the best on this tournament. Don’t you think that long shots might be a solution for your problem with scoring?

– If Mehdiyev scores the same way again, I will be only happy. But usually such goals happen rarely (smiling). I agree that it was a beautiful goal. It is good that it happened in the beginning of the match, because it became easier for us to play further. We thought that Estonia would start attacking after that goal, but even after 2:0 they preferred playing defensively.

– The author of the second goal – Dogukan Oksuz – did not celebrate it with his teammates and ran to the bench area to you right away. Can you explain what is it connected with?

– He might have wanted me to congratulate him (smiling). I had a number of conversations with him when we could not win on the group stage, and it was him who had many chances – 2-3 100% opportunities to score in each match! That’s why he might have been burning inside, and eventually he ran to me today to show that he finally scored! Well, his goals were so much needed for the team earlier.

– Even when the score was 2:0 you team continued attacking…

– The thing is that the Granatkin Memorial is a very important tournament for us. It’s rare when we get an opportunity to see our team in action against opponents of such a level. Last year we were not attacking that much because the team was one year younger than the others, but this year we have some advantage.






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