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Sirgedas satisfied with Lithuania's learning curve

Published: Saturday 27 July 2013, 12.39CET
Having seen two free-kick routines come off in the farewell loss by Portugal, Gratas Sirgedas believes Lithuania will benefit from playing "the strongest teams in Europe".
by Andrew Haslam
from Kaunas

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Published: Saturday 27 July 2013, 12.39CET

Sirgedas satisfied with Lithuania's learning curve

Having seen two free-kick routines come off in the farewell loss by Portugal, Gratas Sirgedas believes Lithuania will benefit from playing "the strongest teams in Europe".

Lithuania bowed out of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship having lost all three Group A games, but they had the consolation of their last kick in the competition being a memorable one as Gratas Sirgedas rifled in a fine goal.

These goals mean a lot to me, especially to my career, and I'm also happy that I have helped the team in some way
Gratas Sirgedas

That added-time strike was the midfielder's second of the night at the S Darius & S. Girėnas Stadium, both coming from free-kicks, and, though it was enough only to reduce the final arrears against Portugal to 4-2, it at least gave Sirgedas a measure of satisfaction. "The game was not a great one, because four goals conceded is not a good result," he said. "Obviously I'm happy with my goals, but it's a pity about the ones we conceded."

Both Lithuania goals came from Sirgedas' cultured left foot, the first a wickedly curling free-kick delivered from the right that found the corner of the net, and the second a clever routine involving a reverse pass from Simonas Stankevičius that allowed Sirgedas to score from the edge of the area. "The first free-kick was half-shot, half-cross," Sirgedas explained. "We've been working on set pieces like that in training and I'm happy I was able to score one. The second goal was also a prepared move."

Those strikes swelled Sirgedas' tournament tally to three goals – three-quarters of Lithuania's total – following his matchday one strike against the Netherlands. That is enough to make him the finals' joint top scorer after the group stage, a source of personal pride. "These goals mean a lot to me, especially to my career, and I'm also happy that I have helped the team in some way," he said.

Having come on as a substitute in Lithuania's first two matches before playing 90 minutes against the Portuguese, Sirgedas was full of praise for the Group A runners-up. "Portugal were really strong physically – probably the strongest of all three teams we played – and also technically and individually," he said.

"Maybe we lacked the energy to keep up with them," added the 18-year-old, who nevertheless feels there are plenty of positives to be gained from the experience of participating in the finals. "I don't think the championship is a failure for us. We've played some of the strongest teams in Europe."

Last updated: 04/09/13 21.25CET

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