Roman Shirokov: “We won like Zenit”

A day after the final whistle of the Ireland-Russia match the author of the game-winning goal answered the questions of “Our Zenit” newspaper.

– Considering that Russia was ahead in the match with Ireland 3:0, then let two goals by and had a very nervous end to the match, many people in Petersburg felt an association with Zenit’s recent victories, in particular with the win over Spartak Nalchik. What do you have say about that?

– I can say that you’re right to some extent.

– So why, in your opinion, after it was 3:0, did the match in Dublin get to 3:2 and have such a nerve-wracking finish?

– For one thing the Irish started playing harder. On the other hand we were controlling the match when all of a sudden a very doubtful penalty kick was awarded against us. And the second goal scored against us came after an obvious foul in my opinion.

– As for the goal you scored, the television commentator couldn’t decide whether the goal should be awarded to you or if the Irish defender had an own goal...

– In England it would be considered an own goal, but in Russia they would have given the goal to me. In fact I think it would be that way everywhere else in the world. After all, the opponent didn’t put his leg out. The match just deflected off him, changed its direction and went in the net. That’s all.

– Before going to Ireland you suggested that the Slovak team would lose points in the next two matches. It turned out that you were right, in fact Slovakia lost to Armenia even before the Ireland-Russia match started?

– Actually, I predicted about the Slovaks that they would get two points in the next two matches. But in the end it turns out that they might not get any.

– The Russians came to Ireland in a much more aggressive mood than against Slovakia?

– We played exactly the same way. It’s just that in Moscow we didn’t manage to score, while here we not only scored, we scored first, right at the beginning of the match. If the same thing happened in Luzhniki Stadium I think everything would have ended badly for Slovakia.

Can you compare the national teams of Slovakia and Ireland?

– The two teams have absolutely different styles of football. The Irish are more used to attacking, creative football, while the Slovaks try to catch the other team’s mistakes. So it’s really hard to compare the two teams in the way they play.

– What memories will you take home from the Ireland – Russia match?

– A very beautiful stadium, great fan support, but mostly from our fans.

– The next match will be this Tuesday against Macedonia. Does the team have enough emotions and strength left for the match?

– We didn’t go to this two match series just to beat Ireland. We came to take home all 6 points. Everybody in the team understands that perfectly well, so I don’t think there’s any chance will underestimate the Macedonians.