Jozsef Szabo: "The most important thing for the Ukrainian national team is to get out of the group. Our main rival is Belgium"

2024-06-16 13:37 Former head coach of Dynamo Kyiv and the Ukrainian national team Jozsef Szabo shared his thoughts ... Jozsef Szabo: "The most important thing for the Ukrainian national team is to get out of the group. Our main rival is Belgium"
16.06.2024, 13:37

Former head coach of Dynamo Kyiv and the Ukrainian national team Jozsef Szabo shared his thoughts on Euro 2024.

Jozef Szabo

- In your opinion, which team is the main favorite for this year's European Championship?

- It's hard to say who the main favorite is right away. I like England, France and Spain. If their leaders do not get injured, then one of these teams, I think, will become the winner of Euro 2024.

If I were to single out one team from this trio, I would give preference to England. This country has the strongest championship in Europe. Only from the players of the Premier League can you assemble not one, but two or even three powerful teams.

I do not believe that at this year's Euro we will witness some kind of mega-sensation, such as the one that took place at the Euro in Portugal when the Greeks won in 2004 or the Danish national team at the 1992 European Championship. There will be no such thing. The success of both Greece and Denmark is a complete accident or a miracle, whatever you want to call it, but miracles in football do happen, but rarely.

- Who will "light it up" on the fields of Germany and ultimately become the best player at Euro 2024?

- In my opinion, Bellingham should, as you say, light it up. I like him very much. He is a great footballer, a high-quality player. At his young age (20), he has all the makings to become a great player.

- Which of the favorite teams could be the main disappointment of the European Championship?

- Portugal. Why? Because their leader Cristiano is not the same Ronaldo anymore. He left Europe and plays in the Saudi Arabian league, where the level is completely different. Sheikhs have bought a lot of stars there, but...

- Nowadays, the domestic media praise the Ukrainian national team a lot and predict that it will almost reach the final. What are your predictions for Serhii Rebrov's team?

- I will not be original if I say that we have to leave the group, but then... Then I will worry and cheer. Now, before the start of the games, we shouldn't get too excited. The most important thing is to get out of the group, to fulfill this task. It doesn't matter from which place, the main thing is to make it to the last 16.

Our main rival in the group is Belgium. They are a balanced and high-quality team that has several stars in its lineup. For example, Kevin De Bruyne from Manchester City. Therefore, before the match with this team, we need to score the maximum, get six points in the matches against Romania and Slovakia. This should be enough to move on.

I read the news on the Internet and many people are predicting that Ukraine will even make the semifinals. So, I think we can reach the final if everything goes right and Fortune smiles on us somewhere.

- The main star of the 2024 national team of Ukraine?

- There is no main star in this national team of Ukraine, but there are a number of quality players - Dovbyk, Malinowski, Tsygankov, Mudryk, Lunin. But I won't single out one player like that.

It's bad that Vitaliy Mykolenko got injured. It is still unclear whether he will help Ukraine or not. But I believe that Zinchenko can adequately replace him. Although I keep reading the news that he was almost kicked out of Arsenal, that he had a bad season and all that. Oleksandr is a very experienced footballer who can be equally useful for the team both in defense and offense when he joins the attacks. Zinchenko is on a first-name basis with the ball. He can make an accurate pass 30-40 meters away when there is a need. In short, Sasha is a handsome man.

- Let's look ahead a bit. Will the result at Euro 2024 have a decisive influence on determining the winner of the Ballon d'Or this year? That is, will this prize guarantee Kylian Mbappe's success for France and Jude Bellingham's likely victory for England?

- Bellingham had a magnificent season for Real Madrid. He won the Spanish Super Cup, the Champions League, and La Liga, where he was recognized as the best player. Therefore, if the England national team wins Euro 2024, the Ballon d'Or will go to Jude. And even without a triumph at the European Championships, my favorite in the fight for this award is the Englishman.

Viktor Hlukhienkyi

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