Footballers enter into battle with high spirits

Qualifying tournament of 2012 European Championship almost at an end

By Yuri Bakerenko

In September, Belarus will twice play against Bosnia, facing Romania in October. Only time will show whether we’ll go through to the European Championship’s final round but we are looking to the future with optimism.

In a friendly match, Bernd Stange’s trainees recently defeated the strong Bulgarian squad 1:0 — performing in grand style, with the goal scored by Kazan Rubin’s Sergey Kislyak. It was their fourth match to date, but the only time that Belarus has broken tradition to claim victory. Minsk’s Dynamo Stadium hosted the battle, at which our squad appeared balanced, well-organised and high spirited. They went on the attack, several times hitting the bar, while the Bulgarians were passive and uninventive.

The result was no great surprise, as both coaches admitted afterwards. Lothar Matthaus, a former legendary defenseman for the German team and today’s head coach of the Bulgarian squad, commented, “I’m very displeased by the result and my team’s performance. I congratulate Belarus on its victory; it’s a fair result. The Belarusians used the ball perfectly, creating many opportunities for scoring. It was good fortune for us that we managed avoid second and third goals. Sadly, the sun doesn’t always shine in football; clouds are also possible.”

Belarus’ head coach, Bernd Stange, noted, “It seems to me that, in action, we gave a more interesting game than the Bulgarians. We can be proud of this. The beginning of the match was tough, with the first ten minutes not going well for us. However, later, we began playing better and quicker. The final score could easily have been 3:0 or even 4:0 but, sadly, we failed to realise a few opportunities. However, our win is a good result before the forthcoming matches against Bosnia and Herzegovina. This match proved useful and important to us.”

August 10th was an important date for all Belarusian fans, as the country’s U21 team also demonstrated a high level of play, following the example of the national squad. Our young players have begun their qualifying round for the 2013 European Championship with a win, defeating Greece away — 3:2. The final goal was scored in extra time, by Novopolotsk Naftan forward Dmitry Khlebosolov.

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