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Belarus bowed but unbroken after Denmark defeat

Published: Wednesday 15 June 2011, 1.41CET
Belarus players presented a united front as they assessed their loss to Denmark – acknowledging temporary defeat but expressing confidence of beating Switzerland in their Group A decider.
by Evgeni Polyakov
from Aarhus Stadion
Belarus bowed but unbroken after Denmark defeat
The Belarus defensive wall rises to fend away a free-kick against Denmark ©Getty Images
 

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Published: Wednesday 15 June 2011, 1.41CET

Belarus bowed but unbroken after Denmark defeat

Belarus players presented a united front as they assessed their loss to Denmark – acknowledging temporary defeat but expressing confidence of beating Switzerland in their Group A decider.

Having been punished by Denmark for a temporary lapse of concentration, Belarus's players promised not to make the same mistakes when they take on Switzerland in their final Group A game on Saturday.

Georgi Kondratyev's side continued where they left off in Saturday's 2-0 opening win against Iceland in the early stages in Aarhus last night. They took the lead in fine fashion in the 20th minute when Dmitri Baga latched onto Stanislav Dragun's delicious chipped pass, dribbled round goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen and slotted the ball into an empty net.

The celebrations had barely finished, however, when Belarus captain Mikhail Sivakov brought down Nicolai Jørgensen in the box and Christian Eriksen equalised at the second attempt after Aleksandr Gutor had saved his penalty. "Perhaps I jumped too early so the ball hit me in the chest and bounced back to the penalty taker," said the goalkeeper, doing himself a disservice. "Luck was simply on our opponents' side, not mine."

Belarus would not have found themselves in such a situation had they not relaxed after their goal, according to both centre-back Sergei Politevich – "it was a lack of concentration and we were punished for it" – and goalscorer Baga, who said: "Maybe we were a bit tentative after scoring, meaning we lost concentration for two minutes and it resulted in that moment."

Politevich, who picked up a second yellow card in as many games to incur a suspension for the Switzerland match, added: "Our main goal was to be solid in defence as we knew we would have chances in attack. Denmark are the hosts and had the stadium behind them so they had to attack, which we felt would open up room for us to counter."

It didn't work out that way, with Denmark instead scoring on the break as left-winger Jørgensen breezed through three defenders before fizzing in a shot from outside the area. Gutor could do little about the strike, but promised the squad would "study what our mistakes were" in order to rectify them against group leaders Switzerland – when "only a win will be on our minds and we'll be up for it as it's our last chance".

Switzerland top the section with six points, three more than Belarus and Denmark with Saturday's deciders to come. "Switzerland are not invincible," said forward Baga. "There's still a chance and we need to be prepared and motivated. We still have one match to go, we'll see how it works out." Politevich concluded: "Everybody has a chance to progress and we just need to beat the Swiss. It's a win or bust situation."

Last updated: 05/12/12 23.51CET

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