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Aleksandravičius rues Lithuania's nervous start

Published: Wednesday 24 July 2013, 15.45CET
Julius Aleksandravičius pointed to a combination of nerves and a lack of focus in the Group A defeat by Spain, although the passionate home fans stayed supportive.
by Aleksei Binkovski & Paul Bryan
from Kaunas

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Published: Wednesday 24 July 2013, 15.45CET

Aleksandravičius rues Lithuania's nervous start

Julius Aleksandravičius pointed to a combination of nerves and a lack of focus in the Group A defeat by Spain, although the passionate home fans stayed supportive.

Lithuania defender Julius Aleksandravičius blamed a combination of nerves and poor focus for the slow start that ultimately cost the UEFA European Under-19 Championship hosts dear against holders Spain.

Antanas Vingilys's team found themselves 2-0 behind 30 minutes into Saturday's opener against the Netherlands, a game they eventually lost 3-2 to an added-time winner. This time it took just six minutes for the Spanish to breach Lithuania's defensive line in Kaunas, Iker Hernández scoring the first of his two goals to set the home side on the way to a second defeat.

"I don't know what happened at the start of the game. Maybe we were a little bit nervous and not fully concentrated," the 19-year-old told UEFA.com. "We chose a specific tactic and tried to avoid an early goal but it didn't work out like that."

That said, Lithuania formed a tight defensive unit through the majority of Tuesday's Group A match. They stifled Spain's attacking midfield threat for large parts, forcing the six-time winners to seek openings on the wings. It was from that source, however, that Luis de la Fuente's team profited, Álvaro Vadillo and substitute Adama Traoré providing the assists for Hernández's double.

"The coach warned me that our opponents would have better movement than the Netherlands players, so I expected more work to do," Aleksandravičius explained. "At half-time he told us to play the same way while continuing to use our counterattacks. With ten or 20 minutes left we were instructed to be more attacking, to push forward from deep and try to score."

Those plans came to nothing, however, and with no points to show from two games played, the tournament debutants' prospects of progress are diminishing fast. Even so, they can expect a passionate response from their supporters at Friday's final group fixture against Portugal – as they chase the win that would give them a glimmer of hope of advancing. 

"I want to thank the fans who came to the game against Spain, it was wonderful," said Aleksandravičius, a product of the Lithuanian National Football Academy. "The support we have had so far has been superb."

Last updated: 04/09/13 18.08CET

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