"Azerbaijan has chances every year. It is time to finally use it"

Azerbaijan's captain Amid Nazarov got a perfect gift for his 30th birthday. His team is only two steps away from the World Cup!

First game of the day was very close and exciting. Azerbaijan and Hungary were fighting till the end. The game was decided on penalties where Azerbaijan was slightly better. BSRussia talked to their captain Amid Nazarov who was celebrating his 30th birthday today. 

- Amid, congratulations on this victory. Did you expect such a tough game?

- We always have difficult games with Hungary. It looks more like wrestling than beach soccer, because it seems that there are two look alike teams on the sand. I think we had a little more luck recently. We knew it would be tough today, so we tried to make less mistakes and fight tiil the very end. I’m happy that we did not give up and managed to save the game.

- Were you satisfied with the draw yesterday?

- Yes, to be honest. But Hungarians probably thought the same (smiles). It was a game between two equal teams, so anything could have happened.

- Was it unusual to start so early in the day?

- We had a feeling we would play early, because the schedule is built to save the most interesting games for the late evening. Yesterday we played at 12, today we played at 11. It’s too early, of course. But we are soccer players, we support the national team, so we have to go on the sand any time.

- A big group of children at the stands suddenly began to cheer for Azerbaijan all together. Did you notice this support?

- It was super nice. We don’t have so many fans, so the unexpected support from the kids inspired us a lot. I would like to thank them a lot!

- You turned 30 today. Did the team congratulate you somehow already?

- Everyone got together in the morning and the guys said that we needed to get together and win for our captain. We always want to win, but today we had another reason. It was very nice that the guys dedicated their goals to me.


- The choice of penalty takers was not obvious. How did you decide who is going to shoot?

- We always train free kicks and penalties at the training camp, so the coach already knew who would shoot and in what order. Sometimes the choice of the penalty takers is really not obvious but you have to take into account that some leaders of the team worked very hard during the game and got too tired. In that case it’s better to let a fresh player take the shot. 

- You became captain quite recently, right?

- It happened that our main captain was on the bench, and the coaches talked to each other and to the players and decided to entrust the captain bandage to me. But it did not change a lot for us really. Everyone fights as hard as he can. Of course, being a captain is an additional responsibility, but I would fight the same today and tomorrow even without this status. 

- What happened in the dressing room after the game vs Spain?

- We played poorly at the Euroleague stage in Portugal, so we were very frustrated when we arrived in Moscow. It felt like we lost motivation. Spain is a very skilled team, they know how to play beach soccer so they easily beat us. We got too emotional after that game. We gathered in a circle and everyone had to say something. Someone was cursing, someone was shouting. But at the end of the day we left these emotions behind. 

- Since Europe gets five passes to the World Cup, you need to win only two of the remaining four matches. How would you evaluate Azerbaijan’s chances to qualify?

- We have a chance every year. Last year we needed to beat Ukraine in order to go to the European Games in Minsk. In Salou we had to win one game to get to the World Beach Games. And now situation is almost the same. We need to make final step.

- Most likely you will play against Switzerland, Spain and Russia. Where do you think Azerbaijan can get points?

- Game with Switzerland will be the best chance for us. We will play with the Spaniards for the third time, it will be tough to win. Russia plays at home. We usually play fine vs the Swiss, but for some reason we lose all the time. Last year we were up 5:1, but lost 5:6. I think that this time we will have a better motivation.