In the final match of the group stage of qualifying for Euro 2024, the Ukrainian national football team played a draw in Leverkusen with the Italians (0:0) and did not make it directly to the final part of the continental championship.
In a conversation with a Sport.ua correspondent, former striker of the Ukrainian national team Alexander Kosyrin said what prevented our players from hitting the squadra Azzurra goal:
“During yesterday’s television broadcast, I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were stepping on the same rake again. In particular, why didn’t they act with such dedication in the first lost match with the Italians? I am convinced that then they would have avoided dependence on the result of the last confrontation. Moreover, yesterday the Italians, who know how to defend themselves skillfully, were satisfied with even a draw.
– In your opinion, did the Ukrainian team play enough to win in Leverkusen?
– It’s difficult to give a comprehensive answer. The Italians clearly dominated in the first half, although it seemed they were the ones who had to think about defense. But the current Squadra Azzurra plays itself and allows its opponents to do so. Another thing is that yesterday, before the break, the nominal hosts did not find counterarguments against the high-speed passes of their counterparts. However, perhaps this was the plan for the match: not to concede a goal in the opening, gradually move the game away from their possessions, and only then try to force opponents to make mistakes.
“And in the second half, the rivalry was already on a collision course.
– Yes, but I remember only two aggravations at the visitors’ goal involving Mudryk, who first lost the duel to Donnarumma, and for some reason the referee did not award a penalty in injury time. Let it be on his conscience. Of course, this is not enough to count on victory in the confrontation with the current European champion.
– At one time, you pleased with your performance while performing at the forefront of the attack in the UPL. In your opinion, what prevented the Ukrainians from excelling at the Italians’ goal yesterday?
– We had Mudrik, Tsygankov and Dovbik involved in front of us, who are now visible in their clubs represented in the top championships. I think that at the national team level they still lack teamwork and self-confidence. This was especially striking at the end of the match, when the Italians were tired, defended with large forces and dreamed of not conceding. This is where our team lacked execution skills and cutting passes that would have made the path to the opponent’s goal shorter. At such key moments, dedication alone is no longer enough to put the pressure on your opponent.
– Having not won a direct ticket to Euro 2024, now all hope is for the play-offs.
– Much will depend on the draw, but I feel that everything will be fine. We have a combat-ready team with a good selection of performers, many of whom perform in well-known foreign clubs, so in the spring they will be in proper playing shape. And Shakhtar’s representatives will be in the required condition, because they will participate in European cups. Therefore, as for me, this time in the playoff round the conditions will be dictated by the Ukrainians. And they will do it confidently.
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