On Sunday, June 12 Ukraine’s national team played its first match at the European Championship 2016 – and lost to Germany. It is time to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Ukrainian national team to understand what kind of results to expect from the team in following matches of the football championship.
Among the main triumps of Ukrainian squad experts name it teamwork - throughout the qualifying round and trainings before the championship team played almost the same lineup.
However, the biggest plus at the same time can become the main disadvantage of the Ukrainian team. By and large, Ukrainian football squad is known completely by their group opponents, and this absolute predictability can be a determining factor. Despite the fact that in the final team application Mykhailo Fomenko chose 23 versatile players, there is no doubt that almost the same players will appear on the field at least during three matches.
Of the three goalkeepers, who were taken to preliminary application by the coaching staff, all went to France. That, in principle, is obvious - the number one position is almost the most important in the national team and two equivalent replacements of main goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov are only for the better.
Goalkeeper substitutes – Denys Boiko from Turkish ‘Besiktas’ and Mykyta Shevchenko from ‘Zoria’ (Lugansk) with all due respect, are far from being able to permanently take place in the core of the team. The first had a few matches in the Turkish championship, during which proved himself to be far from stars. The second is too young and simply might not cope with the pressure of responsibility in the event of such a high level. There are some doubts in the work of Andriy Pyatov too - in the last friendlies the team goalkeeper, at least, did not show great reliability.
It is unlikely that the coaching staff of the national team is completely satisfied with the defensive line. Undoubtedly, there are the best domestic players in defense of the Ukrainian team, but there are also enough of those who are able to make a mistake, which can be decisive.
The strongest player in the line is Yaroslav Rakitskiy of ‘Shakhtar’ and Evgen Khacheridi of ‘Dynamo’. And the fans can’t be so confident in a couple of flank defenders - one aged player of Euro 2016 - 37-year-old Vyacheslav Shevchuk and not always stable Artem Fedetskiy, who sometimes can’t cope with the top-class strikers. Other substitutes are Bogdan Butko, who spent a season in the Russian league and Olexandr Kucher, who is playing for "Shakhtar" together with Rakitskiy.
At first glance, the middle line of the Ukrainian team should not cause concern. Those present here, are considered to be the main stars of the national team - Andriy Yarmolenko from “Dynamo’ and Yevgen Konoplyanka who recently won the Europe League playing in ‘Sevilla’.
Taras Stepanenko and Victor Kovalenko spent a good season playing in ‘Shakhtar’, and Oleksandr Zinchenko became the new star of the Russian championship, and at the last moment got into the squad for Euro 2016. But then the positive aspects come to an end. Another midfielders Ruslan Rotan and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk are not so young, to restrain the powerful attacks of the rivals, and Sergiy Rybalka, Denys Garmash, Sergiy Sydorchuk previously showed their unstable play and cause some worries.
Ukrainian fans are also concerned about the attack line, which many experts now call the weakest link in the national team of Ukraine. Judging by the last two friendly matches, the main in attack will take Roman Zozulia from ‘Dnipro’ team. Evgen Seleznyov will compete with him, and if both will not prove themselves properly, it should be compensated with the work of Philip Budkovskyi from ‘Zorya’.
However, none of the three attackers is known as the top level forward. Ukrainian fans should rather believe in fate and luck of their favorite national team.