The youngest player to win a senior international cap with Greece at 17 years and 243 days, Stefanos Kapino has always been in a hurry to grow and standing at 1.97m, the Panathinaikos FC No1 strikes a commanding presence at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship. Pulling off a miraculous stop in last term's top-flight derby against Olympiacos FC won Kapino the 'save of the season' award and capped a campaign in which he played for Greece at Under-17, U19 and U21 level as well as the senior side. He sat down with UEFA.com to give his thoughts on Greece's performance in Estonia thus far.
UEFA.com: Greece lost 2-1 in their opening match against Spain. What went wrong?
Stefanos Kapino: We were nervous from the very beginning of the game and it showed. Perhaps we were afraid or overwhelmed by the occasion as we were playing against the reigning champions. Despite knowing that we have what it takes to put on a good performance, we did not believe in our own abilities. The defeat will serve as a good lesson for us.
UEFA.com: Do you think you can bounce back?
Kapino: A defeat in the first match is not an ideal start, that's for sure. Spain are a very tough opponent and in the second half we played very well against them. That is what we should build on from now on. We can make it to the semi-finals if we play our best in the two remaining group matches, starting with Estonia on Friday. Nothing is lost yet.
UEFA.com: How different is it communicating with defenders your own age as opposed to older ones?
Kapino: I see no difference, to be honest. As long as a goalkeeper works with good defenders he can trust, age is not important. The Greece U19 defenders are very good and I trust them completely.
UEFA.com: Which parts of your game do you work on in order to improve?
Kapino: Actually, I have a long way ahead of me and there lots of things I can improve on before I can safely say that I am satisfied with myself. I work on everything, both when I am with the national team and at my club Panathinaikos.
UEFA.com: What are your goals for the future?
Kapino: I want to improve constantly and to continue my work at Panathinaikos and with the national teams. I want to help them be present in the final stages of major competitions, from European championships to the World Cup.
UEFA.com: How did you feel about making your senior debut against Romania last November?
Kapino: It was an unbelievable experience for me, I wasn't expecting it. I am grateful to the coach Fernando Santos for calling me up to the senior squad. It was a great honour to be part of the team and play with them. I still can't believe it to be completely honest. I hope that a second call-up will follow eventually.
UEFA.com: As a goalkeeper, who are your role models. Gianluigi Buffon, Iker Casillas or Manuel Neuer perhaps?
Kapino: Wow, that's tough. All three perhaps. The style of the modern goalkeeper nowadays is definitely Neuer as he has a great all-around game. However, I have always had a soft spot for Gianluigi Buffon. He is my idol.
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