Well-known Ukrainian coach Alexander Babich shared his expectations from the Euro 2024 qualifying match between Ukraine and Italy:
– There is a difference compared to the match at San Siro – now most of our teams are in much better shape than then. They have game practice and score goals. I think they are not just in playing conditions, but in optimal conditions. Therefore, we only need victory.
– What could be the key to getting that much-needed victory?
– In the match at San Siro, we did not expect Italy to play so aggressively in the first 15-20 minutes, to have such an advantage and score two goals. We need to be prepared for the fact that they can play just as aggressively and will create a lot of pressure this time too. This will be a battle on the football field in which every micro-duel will count. In terms of skill and current form, we are not inferior to the Italians.
– What elements of the game should we have ready first of all?
– If Italy beat North Macedonia, we must be prepared that with their experienced coach they can close down and play on the counter-attack. Therefore, we must prepare several options well: defense-counterattack and ball control with pressure after a loss.
– From which of our players do we have the highest expectations?
“Our attack is really on the move now.” I also always pay attention to the central three – who will play against the ball and with the ball. Stepanenko, Zinchenko and, perhaps, Sudakov. Their performance can be decisive.
– What kind of football do you expect from Sergei Rebrov’s team?
– At the beginning there will be cautious football and that’s normal. We need to approach this match calmly. It is important to take advantage of our trump cards – a high-quality transition to the attack, because our attacking group can keep the ball, and run up and organize an exit with 4-5 players. It should be clearly organized football in defense and fast enough in counter or positional attacks. Especially in the first half of the first half.
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