Midfielder of the Ukrainian youth team Vladimir Brazhko shared his thoughts about captaincy in the blue-yellow team, assessed the chances of qualifying for Euro 2025 (U-21) and admitted that the whole team really missed their home stadiums and the crazy support of Ukrainian fans.
– Vladimir, the Ukrainian youth team gathered for the final qualifying matches for Euro 2025 (U-21) this year. Do you miss the guys? What do you talk about during meetings after breaks for club football?
– I miss you, of course! All the guys are waiting for calls to the national team, because there is a special atmosphere here. When we get together, we talk about our head-to-head games. We can argue about who wins and who loses (smiles). But the atmosphere in the team is very warm and friendly.
– In the recent classic derby with Shakhtar, you led Dynamo onto the field with the captain’s armband. And before that, I received such an opportunity in the youth team. Is it an honor or additional pressure for a football player?
– For me, this is first of all an honor. There will be pressure, of course, but you shouldn’t pay attention to it. I am the captain and I represent the entire team. I have to be a leader and solve all the problems both on and off the football field.
– Under the leadership of the coaching staff of Unai Melgosa, the youth team has played three official matches so far. In your opinion, has the team already understood the requirements of the coaches? And do you see any differences from how it was during your collaboration with Ruslan Rotan’s coaching staff?
– We are getting better as a team with each training camp, but, of course, there is room to grow. We work more, we understand each other more. Of course, there are certain changes in approaches to work, but the main thing is to fulfill the requirements of the coaching staff.
– Can you highlight some conceptual points about what kind of football Unai Melgos expects to see from the youth team?
– Faster transition from defense to attack, more vertical football, the need to make decisions as quickly as possible.
– In the three opening matches of the Euro 2025 (U-21) selection, the team won three victories. The home victory over the English was especially valuable. Is this a well-deserved achievement for the blue and yellows?
– Of course we wanted this! The match with England was decisive, and, as for me, we carried out the plan for it and beat our opponents. We need to stick to the same line in the fights with the teams of Luxembourg and Azerbaijan, and I think everything will be fine for us.
– You have two fights ahead – with Luxembourg and Azerbaijan. Both teams have won only once in the current campaign. What do you know about these opponents and what do you expect from the upcoming matches?
– We recently met with Luxembourg. This is a pretty unassailable team. He tries to play football and cover our players. We already know this opponent, we will study it further and try to win the second meeting. As for the Azerbaijani national team, we will receive all the necessary information from the coaching staff and will also prepare for this game.
– You scored for the youth team back in 2021, this happened in a friendly match with Uzbekistan (1:1). When can you expect your next goal? Or do you have other key responsibilities in a team game?
– I hope that I will score in every match. But how will it work out? The main thing is that the team wins! I can still be useful in other aspects of the game.
– How do you assess the chances of the Ukrainian youth team to directly qualify for the 2025 European Championship?
– I have already played at the European Championship, but I want to get there again! I think we have a good chance because I know the level of the guys and the team as a whole. Perhaps, few people believed that we could beat the England team, especially after they defeated the Serbs – 9:1. But we did it and we are not going to relax. We want to qualify for the European Championship!
– The youth team will hold both November qualifying matches in Murcia, Spain. Have you already played in Spain, and what match is the most memorable for you?
– I was in Murcia at a training camp with Dynamo Kyiv. But it was winter, and then it was not as warm as it is now. I feel very comfortable here.
– Due to the Russian full-scale invasion, the youth team has not been able to play on their native soil for more than a year and a half. Do you personally miss stadiums filled with fans in Ukrainian cities? Does the team feel the support of Ukrainians even from a distance?
– We haven’t played in Ukraine for a long time, so, of course, we miss our native stadiums and stands full of our fans. When we play in Poland or Slovakia, a lot of Ukrainians come to the matches, but still I want to play in my own home. I want peace to come to Ukraine and everything to be fine!
The game with the Luxembourg team will take place today, November 17, and the meeting with the Azerbaijani team will take place on November 21. The start of both fights is at 20:00 Kyiv time.
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