Serbia - Lithuania [WCQ 11/10/08] - Xtratime Community
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old October 11th, 2008, 11:23 Thread Starter
Forum Manager
Fobal klub's Avatar
Join Date: 11 2003
Location: Quimper (France)
Teams: Stade Rennais, Latvia.
Posts: 19,797
Serbia - Lithuania [WCQ 11/10/08]

Serbia - Lithuania
Stadion Crvena Zvezda - 11/10/08 - 20H15 (CET)

Couceiro thriving on single-mindedness

It was with some regret that Lithuania coach José Couceiro recently relinquished control at FBK Kaunus, putting an end to a brief, spectacular double life. At club level he orchestrated the elimination of UEFA Champions League group stage stalwarts Rangers FC in the second qualifying round and with the national side he notched stunning wins against Romania and Austria – yet something had to give.

Heavy demands
The whole point of the 45-year-old swapping the Mediterranean for the Baltics was the Lithuanian national team, raising its stock and guiding them towards a shock place at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Even if the twin role of managing a club side and coping with the demands of being an international coach had not proven so difficult, Couceiro would still have been aiming to narrow his focus. "My purpose has always been to promote Lithuanian football, restructure their youth system and help the national team succeed," confirmed the Portuguese. "Working conditions are not what they were 15 or 20 years ago. The demands put upon an international manager, especially given that I have no team of assistants, made it impossible to continue in both posts. Also, most of Lithuania's players perform in foreign leagues meaning I must travel a lot to watch them. Doing both jobs well became a physical impossibility."

Major scalp
Despite the drawbacks, Couceiro's work has been so good that he leaves Kaunus riding high in the domestic A Lyga while that 2-1 win against Rangers has been credited for putting some swagger into Lithuanian football. "When we eliminated Rangers there was a massive wave of optimism in our country which transferred directly to the national team," said Couceiro. "Suddenly it was possible to believe! Lithuania have a very interesting group of players but the main problem is that many don't command a first-team place with their clubs. Moreover, in this country, the winter means that young players stop playing in October and re-start in April, which makes developing them impossible – these are the challenges facing Lithuanian football."

Buccaneer style
Notwithstanding this constructively critical analysis, the fact remains that Couceiro's side have six points from two World Cup qualifiers after Group 7 wins in Romania (3-0) and against Austria (2-0) last month. Moreover, Couceiro's startling gains were achieved with a buccaneer strategy which looked high-risk but which achieved devastating results. "I come from a background of Mediterranean football and clearly I had to adapt to accept the national football culture in Lithuania," he explained. "But even if Lithuania does not have a history of football success it does have a very, very strong culture of winning in other team sports, notably basketball. I felt we could overhaul the tactical approach to international matches and the players would catch on quickly. So it proved.

Realistic expectation
"We adopted a 4-3-3 system based on our opponents' vulnerabilities and our own abilities," the former FC Porto and Portugal U21 coach continued. "The dominant structure had always been 4-4-2 and it was hard for teams to anticipate or react when we changed so radically. The single striker, two wingers and support from midfield all worked really well and this is why we have started so well. Nevertheless, I don't think Lithuania can control all their games in terms of possession and there is more development to do in terms of not losing the ball in danger areas." Further progress can be assessed when Lithuania travel to Belgrade to take on Serbia on Saturday, and despite his side's strong start, Couceiro is not getting above himself. "France are the Group 7 favourites followed by Romania and Serbia. Right now we are pleased with our progress but realistic."

Squad list :

Goalkeepers: Zydrunas Karcemarskas (Dynamo Moscow), Paulius Grybauskas (Otelul Galati), Giedrius Arlauskis (Unirea Urziceni)

Defenders: Marius Stankevicius (Sampdoria), Tomas Zvirgzdauskas (Halmstads BK), Marius Zaliukas (Hearts), Ignas Dedura (Spartak Moscow), Vidas Alunderis (Tavriya Simferopol), Arunas Klimavicius (Dynamo Moscow), Irmantas Zelmikas (Kaunas), Andrius Skerla (Jagiellonia Bialystok)

Deividas Semberas (CSKA Moscow), Mantas Savenas (Nosta Navotroick), Saulius Mikoliunas (Hearts), Audrius Ksanavicius (Hearts), Edgaras Cesnauskis (FK Moscow), Mindaugas Kalonas (Dublin Bohemians), Linas Pilibaitis (Kaunas), Tadas Papeckys (Gornik Zabrze)

Tomas Danilevicius (Livorno), Robertas Poskus (Bnei Sakhin), Andrius Velicka (Rangers), Edgaras Jankauskas (Skonta Riga)
Fobal klub is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old October 14th, 2008, 22:33
1st Tier Poster
Xtratime Legend
Andy Christ's Avatar
Join Date: 10 2003
Location: Tallinn, Estonia
Teams: Estonia
Posts: 47,068
Serbia won 3-0. Must be a bit of a blow for Lithuania but everything's still possible.

Big games are easy than the other games, unfortunately. Every times we have the control the games, under the control the games, during the games we had the some possibilities, some big chances, some big okazyons, something like that but what can I do, sometimes? And….it’s the football, that’s the football, something happened. Everything is something happened. - Fatih Terim
Andy Christ is offline  
post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old October 15th, 2008, 19:03 Thread Starter
Forum Manager
Fobal klub's Avatar
Join Date: 11 2003
Location: Quimper (France)
Teams: Stade Rennais, Latvia.
Posts: 19,797
A 1-0 win against Faroé Islands. That's short but that' enough.
Fobal klub is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Xtratime Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive. Try to avoid choosing short (like '1'), simple (like 'abcd') and easy to guess passwords (like a name of your favorite team, player, etc)! Complex and long enough passwords, that consists of random string of alphabet and numerical characters, are almost impossible to be stolen and misused.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome