“Our team was considerably stronger”
¹ 3 (2009)
The main football event of the year of 2008 was a final tournament of European championship in Austria and Switzerland. What is your opinion about it, Mr. Ponedelnik?
The championship was perfectly prepared. All matches of our team I watched alive, the rest ones on TV. Our team has gone a difficult way to leadership; however, it managed to catch a chance at the supreme moment. Though we divided the third and the fourth places with the Turkish, we played two matches on top level with the Swede and the Dutch.
Did you manage to visit the Olympics in Beijing?
No, I did not. I watched the games on TV. Of course, I remember the wins of our sportsmen. However, there was a deficiency in victories they promised us more medals. In my opinion some Russian sportsmen showed good results in China due to the safity margin gained in the Soviet Union. We are to change our training system as quick as possible! Look, what happened now. Many highqualitative coaches moved abroad and train successfully our competitors there. And our young tutors are not so experienced in comparison with them.
Of course, you know what you are talking about. The USSR team won the Olympics in the year of 1956; however, you personally did not attend it. Was it disappointing?
I was 19, and there was almost no chance to be promoted from Rostselmash, B class club, to the National team. And only in 1957, when at the end of the session I participated in the traditional tournament of the best second line players, the senior coach of the USSR team Gavriil Kachalin noticed me. Frankly speaking, it was almost the only case when the B class player was invited to the USSR team. I remember that before the World Championship in the year of 1958 at which Pele became a football star for the first time, I was at the
However, you joined the team when it won gold medal
Oh, yes! The head of the USSR team Andrey Petrovich Starostin announced just after the triumph: «You even cant imagine what you did for the country, its history and its future, having become the champions of Europe»!
If you compare the team of the
There were enough stars in the European and World football in your times. Whom do you like most of all?
Many of them can be named. I played against the Brazilians such as Pele, Vava, Didi, Garrinchi great football players. The Germans were traditionally strong, only Bekkenbauer himself costed much.
Who, do you think, can be compared with you in the present Russian team?
Many times I heard that Roma Pavlyuchenko reminds a young me
I like a manner of Igor Akinfeev, Yuriy Zhirkov, Andrey Arshavin. I would like to mention also a center defenseman of TsSKA (center sport team of army) Sergey Ignashevich. Hiddink made his mind in a right time and in the end entered him into the final game at Euro2008. Otherwise, I am sure, we would have lost the game. I am also impressed by Igor Denisov from
Legend shares its opinion about legend
«His credo is to keep feet ready for an action»
«There was hardly a case in the history of the Soviet football, when a player from a provincial team became a leader in the National team for a long time. Viktor Ponedelnik, a football player from the army command of the city
He was the last large caliber «9», very pleasant to look at. It was more difficult to escape the guidance of the defensemen for him than for active
(From the book of N.P. Starostin «Stars of Great Football»)
Viktor Ponedelnik. Brief biography
He was born in the city
Author: Konstantin Kukharenko