Justinas Zagurskas: Futsal development can’t be stopped!

The World Futsal Championship will start in Lithuania on September 12, 2021. Initially the tournament was planned to be held exactly one year earlier, and it means that interest and expectations for this competition in the host country have reached its climax now. A player of one of the BFL leaders – Kaunas “Vytis”, captain of the Lithuanian national team Justinas Zagurskas in an interview with fifa.com shared his expectations for the World Cup final and told how the Lithuanian national team and the whole country are preparing for this tournament.

Justinas, tell us about the futsal community of Lithuania…

Futsal in our country is not professional yet, it’s rather semi-professional. And the final tournament of the World Cup has already given the futsal teams and players the impetus towards achieving professional status. You can feel this among the players, when the call to the national team comes: we all come to a quality work. I think that the futsal community of Lithuania is developing, its level is growing, and this process won’t stop after the World Cup final – it will go on. 

How did the World Cup final change the futsal image in Lithuania?

Lately the mass media has been paying more attention to us and we are getting together as the national team more often. We had an intensive training and everybody eagerly awaited this tournament, so it’s a pity that it had to be postponed for a year because of the current situation. However our emotions are still positive, we are all interested and ready to give it 100%. 

What made you personally to go in for futsal?

I played futsal from time to time when I was a child, and we even won the school championship. I have always been fascinated by this sport – both when I was young and when I started playing at a higher level, I was 16 at the time. What I like in futsal is that it’s a fast, dynamic kind of sport with lots of goals and tactical variations. It really enchanted me, and once I started, after that I couldn’t stop. 

What experience did you get playing against the leading European futsal clubs?

It’s not just about the results – we showed our character and gathered the fruits of the hard work done in trainings. This significantly strengthened our self-confidence. Presently all the players are focused on training and we’ll approach to the tournament in good shape.

Your expectations of the World Cup final….

The World Cup is still a long way away, and we have a lot of work to do, so I am not ready to talk about our chances right now. I can say that we’ll go out for every game with a willingness to give our all and try to achieve a positive result. We’ll see what happens. 

What can you say about the tournament’s postponement?

On the one hand, this is good. We have more time to prepare and correct our mistakes. On the other hand, it’s frustrating for our players because we have been waiting for this event for a long time. Last season they had to make personal sacrifices to train well for the World Cup, and then everything was postponed, and it means that the players will have to make many changes in their trainings again. Nevertheless sooner or later we’ll definitely do our best at the World Cup – whether it is this year or any other one. 

What will the World Futsal Championship bring to Lithuania?

For the players it’s a good opportunity to announce themselves. Some of our guys have already attracted the attention of foreign clubs and are discussing the terms of contracts. As for Lithuania in general, this championship is a significant event, the first of its kind for the country and nobody knows whether we’ll ever have something like this again. In 2011 we had a major basketball event, but it was the European championship. This time there will be a global tournament –it is the World Cup. If the current situation changes, I hope that many people will come and visit Lithuania during the tournament. In any case, it will raise the level of our nation recognition and ensure the recognition of our country all over the world.