Wednesday, November 15, 2006Katanec' EURO 2008 campaign becomes a "mission impossible"
Igor Krstic - http://www.jadransport.org
The Macedonian national team seemingly plays a much better football, when they are on foreign ground. Until now Srecko Katanec' team won all of their 7 points in away matches, while they lost both of their home matches in the Gradski stadium in Skopje. In their second home match defeat today against Russia, they lost all the 3 points already after 30 minutes ...
Dominant Russians - Insecure Macedonians
The first 30 minutes of the match must have been a nightmare for coach Srecko Katanec, as his team completely failed to produce any meaningful action on the pitch. Usually the strongest part of his team, the defence around Noveski, Petrov, Sedloski and Mitrevski looked amateurish at times, losing easy ball posessions and producing one mistake after another. It might have been the loss of their two most prominent players, Goran Pandev (S.S. Lazio) and Ilco Naumoski (SV Mattersburg), which caused that lack of self-confidence. Nevertheless their absence was a clear fact since several weeks, which the team should have been prepared for and so this can't be an excuse for the very weak perfromance of Katanec' team in the first half. The Russians clearly dominated the first 30 - 40 minutes and deservedly went in front by goals from Bystrov (18') and Arshavin (32'). Especially Russia's No. 10, Andrei Arshavin (Zenit St. Petersburg) proved to be an insolvable task for Macedonia's shaky defence. On the other side, the Macedonian attack produced near to nothing in the first half. Especially Partizan attacker Aco Stojkov seemed to be completly overstrained with his Russian defenders and barely could get a hold of the ball.
Better second half
After the break, we saw a much better Macedonian squad on the pitch of the cram-full Gradski stadium in Skopje. Aging midfielder Artim Sakiri was substituted after only 35 minutes, as he probably displayed one of his worst and also most probably last performances in the Macedonian national team. His irresponsibly sloppy performance today must be a clear sign for Katanec to better rely on younger players in the future. The Macedonians came out of the half time break with a fresh brease of new self confidence and less insecurities, which also resulted in a more aggressive attitude and several chances. It was especially Goran Maznov who had 2 good chances to score with his head during the second half. The previously disappointing Aco Stojkov also improved quite a lot and showed, that he was rightfully selected into the squad. The Russians though were always dangerous with their quick counter attacks, lead by the magnificent Andrei Arshavin, who without doubt proved to become "Man of the Match". At the end, even the improved performance in the second half was not enough to score at least one goal against a strong opponent, who was tactically superior on this evening. Although there was no superiority visible by means of football, Katanec' EURO 2008 mission has become nearly a "mission impossile" now.
Macedonia vs. Russia 0:2
0:1 Russia, Bystrov (18')
0:2 Russia, Arshavin (32')
Nikoloski, Noveski, Petrov, Sedloski, I. Mitrevski, Lazarevski, Sumulikoski, Sakiri (35' Tasevski), A. Mitreski (45' Jancevski) (71' Grozdanovski), Maznov, Stojkov
Akinfeev, V. Berezutskiy, A Berezutskiy, Kolodin, Bystrov, Bilyaletdinov, Semshov, Zhirkov, Titov, Arshavin (90' Pavlyuchenko), Pogrebnyak (57' Sychev)
43' Macedonia, Petrov
51' Russia, Pogrebnyak
65' Russia, Sychev
87' Russia, Kolodin
Man of the Match: Andrei Arshavin
Labels: Macedonian National Team