The Ukrainian national team will play its first match on June 13. The rival of the Ukrainians will be the Netherlands team. On June 17, Shevchenko's charges will play against North Macedonia. And our team will end the group stage with a match against Austria on June 21. The first two places will advance from the group to the playoffs, and the best third teams of the tournament will receive two more places in the quarter-finals.
The Ukrainian national team came up to the 2016 European Championship in good shape and in a good composition. But after a good but lost game with the Germans, the Ukrainians failed in the match with Northern Ireland. Then they lost to the Poles in a non-decisive match and limp left the tournament without a single goal scored. That performance was worth the coaching chair of Mykhailo Fomenko, who was replaced by Andriy Shevchenko. Under the leadership of the owner of the Golden Ball-2004, the Ukrainian national team first did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup, after which it gained an excellent move, winning the Nations League groups and the Euro qualifiers. The transfer of the Euro slightly changed the situation in the national team, which spent another year of preparation for the Euro, playing among the top European football and starting in the qualifiers for the World Cup. Today we will talk about the main factors that will allow the Ukrainians to show themselves brightly at the continental championship.
Andriy Shevchenko and his coaching staff
The head coach of the Ukrainian national team has been working with the team for 5 years. This is his first coaching experience, but so far Andrey Nikolayevich is doing it. And last but not least, Shevchenko's success is ensured by the well-chosen coaching staff. Mauro Tassotti, Andrea Muldera, Pedro Haro, and Oleksandr Shovkovsky put the team on the game, analyze the opponent's tactics and come up with schemes for the games, prepare the players physically and share their rich football experience.
In the spring, the Ukrainian national team played in the selection for the 2018 World Cup with the French national team. For everyone, the playing scheme of the Ukrainian national team was a surprise - Shevchenko decided to hold back the eminent opponent with three defenders. The new formation at first seemed unexpected to the players themselves, but after a while it became clear that the coach's decision brings results. The final draw 1: 1 was a natural success, and Shevchenko's decision received a lot of positive feedback from Ukrainian fans. True, because of the success in France, the Ukrainians "burned out" and could not beat Finland and Kazakhstan.
Before Euro, the head coach of the national team held a long preparatory camp, gathering a large group of players. Although the early start of the training camp raised questions - many players had a long season and an extra rest would not hurt. The players got it after the first game of preparation, which ended with the game against Bahrain. Then Shevchenko went to watch the Champions League final, and the players got a weekend. Now the head coach has gathered all the players “at hand” and he is preparing for the start of the Euro. He does not make loud statements or predictions, although in almost every interview he notices the growing level of his charges.
The Ukrainian midfielder spends his second season at the Italian Atalanta. After four bright years in Belgium, he continued to progress in the top championship. Already in his first year Ruslan played in 44 matches for his club (9 goals and 4 assists). And this season, the Ukrainian played one more match, but added in personal indicators - 9 goals, 12 assists and the title of the best assistant in the Italian championship. In addition, for the last three months, Malinovskyi has been recognized as the best player of Atalanta.
Considering that the Italian club plays in the Champions League playoffs, occupies high places in one of the strongest championships of the continent, the level of our football player's performance should be highly appreciated. Transfermarkt estimates Malinovskyi at € 30 million, making him the most expensive player in the Ukrainian national team. But if Ruslan continues to play the same way as in the spring, his price tag will continue to grow.
In the Ukrainian national team Ruslan Malinovskyi plays one of the leading roles on the field. It was his actions in the center of the field, his interaction with Zinchenko and Stepanenko, his passes and long-range shots that were noticeable in 10 games last season. In the matches of the League of Nations, he managed to score a penalty and earn 3 yellow cards, which shows both Malinovskyi's desire on the field against the tops, and the lack of level in the selection. So, tighten up Ruslan's defensive actions and he will become a world-class midfielder.
The young defender of Manchester City became the third Ukrainian to play in the Champions League final. And although he did not manage to become the third who won the main club trophy in Europe, the significance of this achievement cannot be diminished in any way. Zinchenko started out against Chelsea, was one of the best on the field with his team, and made a difference with a goal conceded, looked more than worthy. And I was extremely upset by the final defeat, and we all watched as the Ukrainian national team player with tears in his eyes received the offensive medal of the finalist.
Because of the Champions League final, Zinchenko became the last player to come to the camp of the Ukrainian national team. He missed the games against Bahrain and Northern Ireland. But the class and attitude of the player make it clear that he will not have any problems to fit into the team in which he plays one of the most important roles. Although he plays in a different position.
In Manchester City, Oleksandr Zinchenko plays as a left-back. But Guardiola's left back during attacks (and City has a lot of them) plays the role of a central midfielder, directing the movement of attacks. In the Ukrainian national team, Andriy Shevchenko uses as an attacking midfielder in conjunction with Malinovsky and Stepanenko (or Sidorchuk). Zinchenko, together with Atalanta's midfielder, is responsible for the attack in midfield, which gives him opportunities to score much more often than at the club.
At Euro 2020, Andriy Shevchenko decided to take Georgy Buschan from Dynamo, Anatoly Trubin, and Andriy Pyatov from Shakhtar. The main goal of the tournament should be the Dynamo goalkeeper, who had an excellent season in Kyiv. His actions at the goal in the championship matches helped Dynamo keep the championship pace, and playing with his feet made the Kyivans a full-fledged participant in the attacks.
His young colleague from Shakhtar, Anatoly Trubin, broke into the elite of Ukrainian football this year, having removed the long-term Pitmen goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov to the reserve. The young goalkeeper performed especially well in the Champions League, where he got into the symbolic teams thanks to the matches against Inter and Real Madrid. The player's price soared to 6 million euros, he became desirable in many European clubs. But while Trubin wants to play in an orange T-shirt.
Andriy Pyatov went to the 2006 World Cup with the Ukrainian national team. Then the Shakhtar goalkeeper was a substitute, but he got the necessary experience. Fifteen years later, Pyatov goes to the Euro as an ex-captain of the national team and a person who is more needed in the locker room than on the pitch. The 36-year-old goalkeeper has played in 96 matches and his experience will be extremely useful to his young colleagues.
The Ukrainian team is one of the youngest at Euro 2020. The average age of our team's players is almost 26 years. Only Turkey (average age 24 and a half years), England (almost 25 years old), and Wales (25 years old) are younger than the team. At the same time, which is funny, in our country, unlike other countries, two of the youngest footballers at once - 18-year-old Georgy Sudakov and Ilya Zabarny were born on the same day, September 1.
In addition to them, the Ukrainian team includes 19-year-old Anatoly Trubin, 22-year-old Vitaliy Mykolenko, Denis Popov, Mykola Shaparenko. Viktor Tsygankov, despite his experience, is only 23 years old. Dynamo Academy in this Euro is second only to the Dutch “Ajax” in the number of participants (11 against 14), and “Dynamo” is in the top among the clubs with the largest representation in the Euro, sending 11 players to the tournament.
There are eight senior players (over 30 years old) in our squad. These are Pyatov, Kryvtsov, Sydorchuk, Stepanenko, Marlos, Makarenko, Bezus and Yarmolenko. Stepanenko and Yarmolenko are the first players, Sydorchuk, Kryvtsov, Marlos are the closest replacement, and if they play in the first team, they rarely "take out" the whole matches. Makarenko and Bezus are reserve players. So their experience in every position on the pitch can be invaluable in Euro matches.