- Martin Stocklasa has made historical past
- FIFA.com speaks with Liechtenstein’s new head coach
- World Cup qualification begins later this month towards groups together with Germany
On 3 December 2020, the Liechtenstein Football Association made historical past not on the pitch however off it, as Martin Stocklasa grew to become the primary Liechtensteiner to educate the nationwide crew.
“Getting the opportunity to coach a national side is always a big deal, but for me it is undoubtedly the greatest challenge of my nascent career and something very special indeed,” the 41-yr-previous instructed FIFA.com. “It’s a huge honour and one that comes with lofty ambitions and targets.”
The appointment marks the primary main take a look at for the previous defender after his spell in command of the nation’s U-21 aspect. Yet his bounce into the deep finish has been difficult even additional by the coronavirus pandemic, which has made smart planning virtually inconceivable.
“From the start there has only really been one direction for me: full steam ahead,” Stocklasa defined. “Coronavirus has been difficult for everybody, however I have to admit that I’m at the moment benefiting from it, as a result of I’ve been in a position to get our crew of largely amateurs collectively for an extended interval. Of course, coronavirus has modified some issues.
“It will probably no longer be possible [for national team coaches] to have a purely sporting influence on a team – and of course we hope that will be the case. Nevertheless, we have been hit hard by the fact that there have been no matches in the amateur leagues, as that is where most of our players come from.”
The advantages of the time the Blues and Reds have spent collectively will change into obvious in a number of days time when European qualification for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will get underway. Liechtenstein’s opponents in Group J are Romania, Iceland, Armenia, North Macedonia – and Germany. The 41-yr-previous’s associations with the Germans return a great distance, not simply because he confronted Bastian Schweinsteiger & Co. (image beneath) throughout his taking part in days however as a result of he additionally spent a number of years plying his commerce for Dynamo Dresden.
“I was very happy about the draw,” Stocklasa mentioned. “I grew up watching Bundesliga matches and began visiting German stadiums as a small child. I wouldn’t trade my time in Dresden for anything. Despite their mini-crisis, to me Germany are still the ultimate team in Europe and the world. They could not be more different to us,” he added.
“The group is very exciting overall, featuring not just Germany but also Romania, who I was able to watch during the last qualifying campaign. They’re a young side with talented players. Then there are teams like Armenia and North Macedonia, who are difficult to assess, while Iceland have come so far in the last few years.”
What does the group have in retailer?
“Although it will certainly be tough against Germany and Romania, we can create bigger problems for our other opponents on a good day and perhaps get something out of those games. We want to pick up points in this group. Hopefully we’ll be able to play our match against Germany in front of a crowd in September. That would be a reward of sorts for us.”
Stocklasa in numbers
- His teaching profession started virtually seven years in the past at FC St. Gallen’s youth academy
- He grew to become Liechtenstein’s head coach after three years with the nation’s youth groups
- As a participant he represented such golf equipment as FC Zurich, Dynamo Dresden and Austria’s SV Ried
- 113 worldwide caps (5 objectives) over an 18-yr worldwide profession
In what areas does soccer in Liechtenstein want to enhance?
“I need to give attention to three issues: conditioning, taking part in tempo and rhythm. We can positively enhance the primary of those in coaching. The leagues have a component to play within the second space; that’s, which golf equipment the gamers characterize and wherein leagues. Players should be keen to go the additional mile to get out of their consolation zone. We’re asking lots right here, however with the intention to enhance that you must go elsewhere and compete with one of the best.
“Luckily the mentality has changed in recent years. More and more young players want to gain experience abroad. If we have three or four players who do that, it helps the entire team. Back when we played Portugal, we were able to spring a surprise because a couple of our team-mates were playing elsewhere. We’ve got to do that again.”
That match towards the Seleção das Quinas marks Liechtenstein’s biggest footballing achievement to this point. During qualification for the 2006 World Cup in October 2004, the principality snatched a sensational level with a 2-2 draw – after initially falling two objectives behind.
“That’s something that will stay with me,” Stocklasa recalled. “The stadium was full and we had been taking part in towards Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo and different worldwide stars. We knew they had been favourites for the title, however then we realised they weren’t taking us critically.
“Portugal were 2-0 up and then we got the breakthrough we needed: a goal back. Suddenly we thought: we’re onto something here! It’s impossible to describe what happened next. The game finished 2-2, the world was turned on its head and all of Europe knew about Liechtenstein.”
Could the identical factor occur towards Germany or Romania? “Every point in European or World Cup qualifying is a sensational achievement, and that spurs the players on,” Stocklasa mentioned. “A result like the one against Portugal would still be a huge surprise – even now.”