The Czechs’ “devastating surprise”
The Armenian national football team wasn’t expecting to go against such a team from the Czech Republic, but it’s hard to guess what the team’s expectations were.
The anticipated March 26 Armenia-Czech Republic football match in the selective Group B for the 2014 World Championship was considered a final and important match for both the Armenian and Czech teams. Whereas the Czech team’s chief coach Mikhal Bilek had made an announcement about that during a press conference in Yerevan, President of the Football Federation of Armenia Ruben Hayrapetyan had viewed the game as final and important instead of the Armenian national football team’s chief coach Vardan Minasyan. “Who said we had to go to Brazil? We’re helping our players improve,” said Vardan Minasyan after losing 0-3 to the Czech team and surprised Armenian journalists more. According to Minasyan, the Czechs had chosen a new, surprising tactic by playing with two supporting mid-fielders, and Armenia’s team wasn’t expecting that. On March 22, the Czech national team lost to the Danish team 0-3 with two prominent supporting mid-fielders, including Vladimir Darida and Yaroslav Plashil. Moreover, it was during that game when Mikhal Bilek chose a more flexible tactic than the one he had chosen during the match in Yerevan, but only the match in Yerevan helped the Czech team succeed. Touching upon the match, it should be mentioned that the Armenian team started the first half with a lot of energy and could have scored not one goal, but more than that. Yura Movsisyan, Edgar Manucharyan and Gevorg Ghazaryan played from good positions. Due to problems with players, the Armenian team’s beginning players, defenders Valeri Alexanyan and Taron Voskanyan, as well as mid-fielder Karen Muradyan came out to the field. Everyone knew that 20-year old Kamo Hovhannisyan would be defending on the right side of the field. The Czechs were rather calm during the first half of the match and weren’t too nervous. Tomas Rositsky, who had recovered from an injury, managed to balance defense and attack with the support of Tomas Hyubshman and Yaroslav Plashil. After standing in the opponent’s way of scoring goals several times, the Armenian team players thought about taking a little break in the middle of the first half, and as a result, the Czechs became more active and tried to break through the defense players. The Czechs didn’t score any goal until the end of the first half. After the first half, the full audience at “Hanrapetakan” Stadium were hoping that Vardan Minasyan would give his players good advice and that the Armenian football players would try to reach the Czech goalie Petr Chekh in the second half of the match and score the desired goal. The more than 15,000 fans at the stadium weren’t even expecting to see the Armenian players help the opponent score a goal with their mistakes that shouldn’t have been made. The Armenian team’s defenders were helpless against Matey Vidra’s defense, and this helped the Czechs take advantage of the Armenian team’s mistake and score goals. After the Czechs missed a goal, Armenian fans became more motivated and tried to motivate the players as well, but it was in vain since the team continued to play without good defense. Even Aras Ozbilis and Artur Sarkisov didn’t help the national team, and according to fans, the referee made a mistake and didn’t count the goal that the Armenian players had scored, saying the ball was out of the field. There was another dispute when the Armenian football players were demanding an 11-meter penalty strke, while the Romanian referee Pavel Balay expressed a different view. At the 81st minute, by the team’s initiative and due to mistakes, the Armenian national team was forced to start the game from the center of the field. Matey Vidra, who was unnoticed, scored two goals by going one-on-one against the Armenian team’s goalie Roman Berezovsky, making the score 0-2. In the last seconds of the match, the Armenian team had to show that it was powerless again after the Czech team scored the third goal. This time it was Czech player Daniel Colarge who scored the goal and left the Armenian players and their fans standing with their heads down. During the press conference following the match, Mikhal Bilek tried to console the Armenians and said all is still not lost for the Armenian side. “The team still has 6 matches to play. If the Armenian team wins all those six matches, it will definitely have a high chance of going to Brazil and representing the country.” Speaking about his team, Mikhal Bilek particularly indicated the mid-fielders’ actions that helped the team achieve success. According to Mikhal Bilek, he also contributed to the team’s victory by giving a 50-50 evaluation of his team and its efforts. Bilek wished the Armenian team success and left the press conference hall where a real “explosion” would take place shortly after. “Everyone played wonderfully. The defenders also played well. Each loss is a coach’s loss. We’re working on improvement. I have never said the team wants to go to Brazil. It depends on the situation. There won’t be changes in strategy, but there will be changes in tactics,” said Vardan Minasyan during a press conference following the match and shocked journalists…and the fans. As to what can be concluded from the words of the Armenian national team’s chief coach, we’ll leave it up to you, but the current high-class team can’t play successfully for the time being. There are many reasons for that and the list can go on, but we’ll wait for the news. P.S.: What’s interesting is that the Armenia-Czech Republic match caught the eye with the lack of organization. Just minutes before the match, fans appeared in front of the doors of “Hanrapetakan” Stadium and weren’t even allowed to enter the stadium with their ticketts. The policemen assured them that the stadium was packed and that they had been told not to let anybody in. If the police officers were a little smart and discreet, they could have reminded the negligent football fans to enter the stadium from the start of Charents Street from where the fans could enter with their tickets. In any case, there will still be many discussions on the Armenia-Czech Republic match, but it would be better, if the headquarters of the national team gave analyses regarding the game. Harutyun Tsatryan