The famous Ukrainian coach Sergei Kovalets shared his impressions of the decisive qualifying match for Euro 2024 Ukraine – Italy (0:0):
– It’s a pity that we didn’t win and didn’t qualify for the Euro directly. The Italians spent a lot of effort – moral and physical – with North Macedonia. The second half with us showed that the Ukrainian team was better prepared physically, emotionally and psychologically. Substitutes started working, Zubkov and Sikan entered the game well. Although the Italians had chances before the break – Chiesa shot high, and it was 1-on-1. The game worked for us. Italy worked in their best catenaccio traditions, especially in the second half – they closed and defended the draw that was enough for them. They also strived to get results, and they did it.
“We attacked, but there wasn’t enough of someone who could make the difference.” Do you agree?
– Of course, I agree. I expected us to play actively and aggressively. And the fatigue of Italy – like it or not, it is physiologically difficult to play on the third day – this will have an effect. That’s why we wanted to press high.
– Moment with an unassigned penalty. Your opinion?
– There is no definite answer. It seems to us that there was a penalty, to the Italians – that there was no. Although overall the referee did a good job.
– Do we need to mark any of our people individually?
– I think we need to talk about team actions – the team played well both in attack and defense. The players gave their all. The fans did not see indifference – this is the main thing.
– How would you rate this qualifying round overall?
– We beat North Macedonia, we beat Malta. And we played well against Italy, but let’s recognize their high level.
– What prospects do you see in the playoffs?
– I think everything will be fine with us. Rebrov made it systematic – the youth, youth teams and the main teams will work according to a single system. This should have been done earlier, because the best teams in the world have it. It is important that the war ends thanks to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. I already said, my two sons-in-law are on the front line. The guys are looking for an opportunity to watch the matches of the national team and our teams in European competitions. Thanks to them we can play football and win.
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