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Diversely different matches and results

Belarusian national football team wins, setting example to junior squad
By Dmitry Baranovsky

The Belarusian national team is through to the 2014 World Championship qualifying tournament, with Georgy Kondratiev’s trainees facing Georgia in Tbilisi in early September. Accordingly, a friendly match against Armenia presented a chance for a warm-up, while allowing us to assess the squad’s condition on the eve of the important tournament.

The national teams of Armenia and Georgia are very much alike, representing one school and one region and, of course, they play each other often. So, leaving for Yerevan, the coaches had their minds set on Tbilisi, viewing Renan Bressan’s two goals as reason to hope for a favourable start to the qualifying campaign.

In fact, Belarus won 2:0, although Dmitry Verkhovtsev scored a home-goal in the 77th minute. Our defence is clearly strong and the squad is showing a positive, confident spirit — long awaited. Despite this, Georgy Kondratiev asserts that they could have played far better, saying, “I have issues, as our opponent had several opportunities to score; they didn’t deserve the defeat. Such is the way of sport… we won due to our character.”

In fact, the line-up in Yerevan wasn’t optimal, as several players were absent; their appearance in September will be very welcome. The coach muses, “Mozolevsky could have helped us in the second half of the game, as he is so quick. Kalachev also could have assisted, but I don’t see any sense in calling him now. Of course, I can’t help remembering Kulchy but the first Russian league doesn’t release its national squad members. I also believe that Alexander Hleb could have been useful, but he needs to return to form with his club.”

If Mr. Kondratiev has problems, these are mostly ‘technical’ while Alexey Vergeenko, who is debuting as the head coach of the Belarusian national junior team, has more serious issues to contend with. In Minsk, his team was frustratingly defeated by Cyprus’ national squad 0:3; they were uncoordinated and seemed unable to show any decent result. “I didn’t see a true team on the field,” noted Honoured Coach Yuri Pyshnik, after the match. “This brought two stupid occasions of sending off, lots of yellow cards, constant disputes with the referee and three missed goals.”

The Belarusian national junior team has long lost its chance of reaching the finals of the European Championship, so the coaching staff have their work cut out for them before the new selection round.
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