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OK, fair warning….
As any of you who read my Brasil preview already knows, I don’t know squat about Brasil footy. As god is my witness, I know even less about Ukraine footy. Now I know that sounds impossible, but I swear it’s true. The good news is that this time I’m really gonna try. Sort of. At least a little bit.
So as I do my research, I will more or less be typing in real time as well. So…let’s learn about the Ukraine together, shall we?
Wow, they don’t like Russia much, do they?
(OK dumbass….search “Ukraine Soccer” this time)
(NOT SUCK HER!!!! DAMN YOU AUTOCORRECT!!!!)
/Wikipedia…sure, always a good first step
OK, let’s see….Currently ranked #19 by FIFA. Never been ranked higher than #11. Probably follows then that…..NOPE, never won a goddamned thing. ’06 World Cup quarters is the high water mark for Ukraine futbol. Wow, I’m a little sad now. And also a little happy. NC State athletics just started looking better by comparison (wooo).
(OK concentrate, you HAVE to finish this tonight)
Group C along with Germany, Poland and Northern Ireland. All very happy places historically, of course. So that’s nice for them.
- Sunday, June 12 – vs Germany
- Thursday, June 16 – vs Northern Ireland
- Tuesday, June 21 – vs Poland
Let’s see, nobody much seems to think Ukraine is gonna do much damage, not even the Ukrainians themselves. I’ll have to take their word for it I suppose. Speaking of which, here are their words….
Ukraine preview (WorldSoccer.com)
Ukrainians aren’t overly optimistic about the chances of the national team at Euro 2016. Few think Mykhailo Fomenko’s side will qualify from their group.
Most believe that his team is composed of too many old players, such as left-back Vyacheslav Shevchuk and captain Ruslan Rotan, who will be 37 and 34 respectively by the time the finals get underway.
Hopes are mostly pinned on a pair of attacking wingers: Yevhen Konoplyanka, who plays in Spain for Sevilla, on the left; and inventive Dynamo Kiev wide man Andriy Yarmolenko on the right. They, however, are rare standout performers in a squad packed with average players.
“I think during Euro 2016 there won’t be much beautiful football,” admits Yarmolenko. “Every team will be focused on getting the necessary result. We are set up for this kind of football.”
The head coach has been criticised for being too cautious, with a clear preference for defence over attack. But he maintains the support of the federation. “Fomenko is a good motivator,” says federation president Andriy Pavelko. “There are no problems in the dressing room and all the players are ready to fulfil the ideas of the head coach in France. The minimum task for Fomenko [to secure a new contract] is to qualify from the group.”
OK seriously, I’m trying here. Really. But there really aren’t a lot of people talking about Ukraine futbol. The few that are, well they’re basically not saying anything significantly different than the above. I mean even Nelly the Psychic Elephant knows better than to put any scrilla down on them.
Yep, Newman’s on their side. So they got that going for them.
Let’s see, what else….nope…nope….nope. Oh here’s something….
Ukraine coach interview: Mykhailo Fomenko (WorldSoccer.com)
How important is the fact that, unlike last time, Ukraine have finally qualified after a play-off?
It is very important. I think it is always a difficult situation for the team from the country which hosts the finals. In other words, it is a completely different kind of preparation to playing only friendlies.
Now we have passed through a very tough qualifying group and reached the finals by only beating Slovenia after the play-offs for the first time in our history. It required from the players some character, I have to say!
How do you rate Ukraine’s group opponents?
We have some experience of playing Poland. Now they have reached their highest level. There is no need to say something about Germany, the reigning world champions. Northern Ireland are
not underdogs at all. They play a typically British style of football and are not an easy rival either. Every match will require complete discipline and motivation.
What would you like to achieve with your team at Euro 2016?
It is necessary always to have serious ambitions. Taking into account the teams that we have to play, our priority is to qualify from the group.
How will you motivate your players?
We need to give our players time to recover from the season, get rid of all the negatives, accommodate all the positives and be prepared to give everything. It’s the Euro finals, after all!
So coach speak is a thing everywhere apparently.
Bottom line. Ukraine isn’t exceptionally good to say the least. But aside from Germany, they actually have a not terrible/possibly good drawn with N.Ireland and Poland. They could even emerge to qualify from the group. But it’s not necessarily a bet I’d make.
OK, so what have I forgotten? Oh yeah, that’s right….
Milla is Ukrainian, btw…Just sayin’.
OK, that’s it.