2014 World League: Serbia v Russia return match

Erkin Shagaev Эркин ШагаевRussia lost to Serbia in a recent return World League match 7-14. Despite the score-line, I can’t say that I am completely unhappy with how my team played. For three and a half quarters we were close to the level of our opponents. The main difference was in the conversion of standard situations where our opponents were still better. We certainly looked ugly during the last several minutes and that is where the unflattering goal difference came from.

Notwithstanding, I look forward to the future with optimism as, with a few changes in personnel, in my opinion, we played better than last January in Kazan. The majority of our players do not even have the experience of being at the European championships let alone Olympic games and world championships. We have the potential but need to get used to playing with quality technique-tactical actions at this level of intensity.

On a different note, in 2014 we took part in five official matches so far – 2 with Serbia, 1 with Romania and 2 with Holland. Irrespective of the results, in all those matches I felt the refereeing was very average and this is not to say more: interpretations of the game situations – in particular, centre forward versus centre-back – were changing not only between separate matches but between periods and – within periods – between the teams. The new ‘guidelines to the old rules’ that were introduced last September have or have not been upheld in the same pattern. I was thinking to myself – how am I supposed to judge my players and give them feedback when the refereeing cannot be described in any way other than chaotic, to say the least. One feels sorry not only for athletes and coaches who have to cope with this but for general public too who, most of the time, can’t understand what is going on.

For us, the next official matches will be at the European championships in Budapest in July this year. We do not need any favours, I am and I know many of my colleagues are just hopefull that refereeing there will be more stable and consistent, at least.

About Erkin Эркин Shagaev Шагаев
European, world, Olympic champion, two times World Cup winner Чемпион Европы, мира, Олимпийских игр, двукратный обладатель Кубка мира

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