Blackpool Vital at the Baltic Cup
This year's Baltic Cup took place from 30th May until 2nd June in Riga, capital of Latvia, contested by hosts Latvia and neighbour states Lithuania and Estonia.
The first match was between Latvia and Estonia. Both countries are well known to Blackpool football fans - Latvian businessman Valery Belokon is Blackpool FC's president and Kaspars Gorkss a regular Championship performer for the Seasiders at centre half. And Estonia played twice against England in Euro2008 qualifying games with England winning 3:0 on both occasions. It was Gorkss 14th match for the Latvian national team. Although the Estonians played the better football, Gorkss did not get in the action that often as his opponents made do with either hitting the target from long range or attacking down the flanks. Latvia won the game with a rare attack, veteran Vits Rimkus earning a penalty which was put away by one of the top Latvian professionals Juris Laizans, who plays for Shinnik in the Russian Premier League.
One the second day of the tournament Lithuania outplayed Estonia and won by a solitary goal, although the Lithuanians played nowhere near their best team as they knew that their main match would be against Latvia.
On Sunday 2nd June Latvia faced Lithuania, another national team who should be well known to Seasiders fans given their recent clashes with Scotland. This game was of a higher quality than the first two as both teams clearly wanted to win the Baltic Cup. It is interesting to note that in the event of a draw Lithuania would have won the trophy because they had got less yellow cards against Estonia.
Despite a 0:0 draw suiting the Lithuanians they still attacked more than they had against Estonia. Gorkss got a lot more action than in his previous appearance and he was brilliant - dealing with everything in the air. And even better - in the 56th minute after a Latvian corner he scored a goal with a header giving the lead to Latvia. To be totally accurate after Gorkss hit the ball it was touched on the way in by his team mate Preplotkins, and later the goal was indeed credited to him and not Gorkss. But still Kaspars contribution was the all important one! On the 77th minute from a cross a Lithuanian player hit a header into his own goal to make it 2:0 to Latvia. 4 minutes later Lithuania made it 1:2 and in the dying seconds of the match almost got an equalier that would have led them to getting the Cup, but Latvian goalkeeper Vanins saved his team. 2:1 and Latvia won the Cup which is the oldest in the whole of Europe, having been contested since 1928.
For photos from the tournament visit :
http://esports.lv/futbols/latvijas_izlase/galerijas/romualds_vambut... - Latvia - Lithuania
http://esports.lv/futbols/latvijas_izlase/galerijas/romualds_vambut... Latvia - Estonia
http://esports.lv/futbols/latvijas_izlase/galerijas/romualds_vambut... - Latvia`s trainings