What we have is what we got: 4 consecutive defeats and no hope
Football fans in Armenia declared June 6th and 7th as football days, but of course, this wasn’t official.
On June 6, the Armenian youth football team (up to 21-year olds) suffered a painful defeat after losing to the Icelandic youth football team 1-2 at Hrazdan Stadium in Yerevan. The end of the two haltimes of that match held as part of the selective stage for the Europen championship was painful for the Armenian football players because the team let the opponent score goals at the last minutes of the 1st and 2nd halftimes. When it seemed as though the match would end with a tie (1-1), at the last minute, Icelandic player Atlason won the battle against the Armenian defenders and goalies and scored a goal for his team, making Iceland the sole leader with 2 matches and 6 points. Although Armenian football fans were deeply saddened after the Armenian youth team lost to the Icelandic teams, they still hoped that Armenia’s national team could bring back all that was lost in a couple of hours and win the Maltan team. The fans were rest assured that Armenia would score a lot of goals and win the match. The Armenia-Malta match was held at “Hanrapetakan” Stadium after Vazgen Sargsyan in Yerevan as part of the 2014 World Cup on June 7th. The two teams had played another match on 7 September 2012 in Malta where Armenia’s national team managed to win 1-0 with difficulty and scored its first and, for the time being, last points in this stage of the competition. That was the only match that the Armenian team won since it hadn’t been able to score victories starting from the previous Bulgaria-Armenia match. The national team lost 0-1 in Sofia, after which the Italians won the Armenians 3-1 in Yerevan and the Czechs won 3-0. Everyone was sure that Armenia would win Malta, and even bookmakers preferred Armenia’s national team. But the match showed that Armenian football is not in a good situationa again. After the matches against the Bulgarian and Italian teams, Armenia’s team also suffered several defeats, especially in the defense line, which had a negative impact on the result of the Armenia-Czech Republic match. But prior to the Armenia-Malta match, the national team already thought it had no problems with cadres. Despite that, the team lost to Malta. During a press conference prior to the match, the team’s chief coach Vardan Minasyan had mentioned that there would be a change of strategy in this match and that the team would only play to win. What was the change of strategy? The defenders were the same as the ones during the Armenia-Czech Republic match, Henrich Mkhitaryan was in the appropriate position of sub attacker instead of a mid-fielder as in the previous match, and only Yura Movsisyan was in the reserve. The tactic “changes” didn’t give fruit at all, and it’s hard to say what the team was fighting for. The Armenian team was losing at the 8th minute of the match with a weak team that it had already won 4 times before. Where were the team’s strong defenders? Goalie Berezovsky tried to save the situation, but the Armenian defenders weren’t playing well in their positions, and Michael Mifsud seized the ball again. The Maltan team was winning 1-0 and was only thinking about maintaining the score by making the match go slowly and keeping the Armenian team from scoring goals. Unlike the Armenian team, which hadn’t noticed the Maltan team’s senior and leading attacker Michael Mifsud, who could have scored the second goal, Malta’s defenders were alert at all times. The Armenian team didn’t come close to scoring a goal during the first half of the match. It was only at the 27th minute when Marcos made a long pass to the opponent’s field, but Justin Haber successfully kicked the ball to the other side. The Armenian football players had a hard time taking advantage of the several goals that they could score from the side and for penalties. Of course, the Armenian players did show an interesting approach when kicking the ball in the penalty line, but they weren’t able to fulfill that plan and Mkhitaryan didn’t manage to strike the ball towards the goalie. The last five minutes of the first half passed with the Maltan players’ kicks from the side and the penalty line, but in one case, the ball went up in the air after Mkrtchyan hit it with his head, and in another case Edgar Manucharyan failed to score a goal from the side. As for Mkhitaryan, he didn’t manage to stop the ball. The first half ended without any results and without any aspiration for victory. What did we see in the second half? We saw several failed passes and only two replacements (Yura Movsisyan replaced Edgar Manucharyan, and Artur Sarkisov replaced David Manoyan) and no results. The 96 minutes of the match (if we take the time added by the referee into account as well) weren’t enough for our football players to achieve success. As a result, we suffered an embarrassing defeat at home and gave this victory and the first three points in this season of the competition to Malta. What’s more, Malta was able to score its first victory in the past 20 years and its first victory after 2006. Isn’t this an embarrassment? You be the judge. The Armenian team psychologically lost after the opponent scored the first goal and wasn’t able to get back in the game and play better defense. So, this means that the Armenian team is not meeting the objectives of the strategy plan for the second time since those objectives were set for victory and by the principle of “the team that scores the first goal, will win”. Theoretically speaking, after these past 4 consecutive defeats, there is no longer real hope to score a pass to the 2014 World Cup. The fans are more furious, more people are demanding the chief coach’s resignation, and just three days from now, the team will be competing with the Danish national football team in Copenhagen. Will we get a slap in the face? I’m not blaming anyone, but I must say that Armenia’s national team lacks dedication, mutual understanding and cooperation on the field, and some leading players lack practice. This is the reason why the team that has many high-class football players lost for the fourth time. It could have planned well and won at least Malta. In any case, what we have is what we got, and that is 5 matches and only 3 points, only 1 victory and 4 consecutive defeats. The table for Group B is the following: Italy has 14 points (after 6 matches), Bulgaria has 10 (after 6 matches), the Czech Republic has 9 (after 6 matches), Denmark has 6 (after 5 matches), Armenia has 3 (after 5 matches) and Malta has 3 (after 6 matches). The Armenian national football team still isn’t in the last place on the table, but it can’t go on like this…And everyone knows that… Hripsime Galstyan Harutyun Tsatryan