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Serbia, Azerbaijan cannot believe their eyes

Published: Saturday 4 February 2012, 0.12CET
"No one has ever seen anything like this at a Futsal EURO," said Serbia coach Aca Kovačević after the 9-8 win that took his side through past Azerbaijan, players of both sides left stunned.
by Paul Saffer, Elvir Islamović & Nuno Tavares
from Arena Zagreb
Serbia, Azerbaijan cannot believe their eyes
Four-goal Vidan Bojović celebrates at the end ©Action Images
 

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Published: Saturday 4 February 2012, 0.12CET

Serbia, Azerbaijan cannot believe their eyes

"No one has ever seen anything like this at a Futsal EURO," said Serbia coach Aca Kovačević after the 9-8 win that took his side through past Azerbaijan, players of both sides left stunned.

Aca Kovačević, Serbia coach
No one has ever seen anything like this at a Futsal EURO, I saw some amazing things: the early goal set the tone. We were lucky to win but we deserved it, and we have achieved our goal, this a great success for Serbian futsal. For our small county and base of players it is a huge success to qualify for three consecutive EUROs and reach two straight quarter-finals.

I am very satisfied with the win but not with the performance. Both teams didn't defend today and that was good for the public, it was the highest scoring game in final tournament history. Both teams knew before the game that it would decide who would go into the quarter-finals, we conceded an early goal in the first ten seconds, then there were many goals on both sides. We knew before the game that Azerbaijan have very good a flying goalkeeper and in our last training session we trained for that situation. They scored two goals like that, but in the end we survived.

Bojan Pavičević, Serbia captain
It was catastrophic start. That early goal we conceded decided the character of the match. After we made a few changes, we came from two goals behind. Once I had calmed down a bit we were the better team and  deserved to win. After we turned the match in our favour we had some bad moments and they had a few excellent minutes with a flying goalkeeper, but the goal I scored [to make it 8-7] was probably decisive. If some of our players had been at their best, we wouldn't have had any problems winning.

It is historical match for us. It's not only a record, with the most goals in a EURO finals match, but it was absolutely the most thrilling. Some people called us from Serbia after the match and they told us that some of them were on the verge of a heart attack.

Vidan Bojović, Serbia quadruple goalscorer
I am delighted, what can I say? I have never played in a match like this, definitely not. Although we had some tough moments in the match, everything ended fantastically for me and my team. I am really proud of myself and my team-mates. This was my best ever game for the national team. It was a shocking match. For everyone. But, we showed great character and won, which was our goal. We can continue winning, we can be the sensation of the tournament, because you never know with us.

Alesio, Azerbaijan coach
It was a bad game for us. We were not interested on relying on any other results, we didn't want a draw either. We conceded stupid goals and the players didn't concentrate. I didn't recognise them, they were not my players and I am very sorry.

There are many factors to blame [for not repeating the 2010 semi-final run], for example Serjão didn't do as well as he could, and all of the players were better in Hungary than here. I don't know what other factors it could be. Physical? Psychological? I don't know. But there are many things to blame, not just the players.

They helped us very much, the Croatian crowd. They were great and I am sorry to them that we lost but we gave them a good game, it was very interesting. I thank them for being so great.

Thiago, Azerbaijan defender
It's very hard to find words for a match like this one, especially when you score eight goals and you still manage to lose. There's no explanation for the easy way we conceded nine goals. We lost a golden opportunity to win and keep our campaign alive until Sunday. I think the best word to describe what our team is feeling is a deep sadness.

Tonight maybe we were not humble enough after scoring two early goals. We should have continued to play like we were doing until that moment: waiting for our opponent to make a mistake and score on the counterattack. It was a very sad farewell to the competition.

Felipe, Azerbaijan defender
I still can't believe we scored eight goals and we are out of the tournament. It is just too hard to accept something like that. Everyone in the team is very sad and some of the players cried at the end of the match. We came here with the objective of, at least, reaching the quarter-finals but in futsal sometimes things happen that you're not expecting.

We're out and now we will have to find a way to put all the sadness and frustration behind us in order to focus on the future, namely the [FIFA Futsal] World Cup qualifiers that lie ahead. We aim to reach the first World Cup in the history of Azerbaijan.

Last updated: 29/11/12 9.40CET

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