Oleksandr Sopko: "Everything was decided by the unpreparedness of the Ukrainian national team players, who simply "floated" in t

2024-06-18 07:29 Former Shakhtar Donetsk player Oleksandr Sopko analyzed yesterday's match of the 1st round of the group ... Oleksandr Sopko: "Everything was decided by the unpreparedness of the Ukrainian national team players, who simply "floated" in t
18.06.2024, 07:29

Former Shakhtar Donetsk player Oleksandr Sopko analyzed yesterday's match of the 1st round of the group stage of Euro 2024 in Group E Romania - Ukraine (3:0).

Alexander Sopko. Photo — V. Peregnyak

- We expected something different, there is a certain disappointment, " Sopko said. - First of all, the unpreparedness of some players of the Ukrainian national team to withstand the intensity and tension of such a tournament as the European Championship was disappointing. Psychologically, not everyone could do it.

It's a shame, but the fate of the match was decided not by the difference in class, not by tactics, not by coaching mistakes, but by the unpreparedness of Ukrainian players, who simply "floated" in the course of the game. But Romania was ready. It was a game of mistakes and a test of psychological stability. Yes, in the first 15 minutes the Ukraine national team showed good soccer, because we are higher class. However, we could not realize it.

- Romanians have studied Serhiy Rebrov's team so well?

- Let me remind you that the Romanian national team did not lose a single match in qualifying for Euro 2024 and conceded only five goals. They approached the final part of the tournament confident. The Romanians play from defense. They understood that in an open game against Ukraine they have no chance. But from defense is another matter, it is an opportunity to break the plans of the Ukrainians, to wait for mistakes. Yes, the Romanians have studied us well - how the links work, for example, Tsygankov - Dovbik, how to destroy them, how to prevent the actions of Mudryk and Sudakov... The Romanian team clearly saw our shortcomings, and that they are primarily in defense....

We have no great defenders, except Zabarny. There are no defenders who would match the level of such a tournament as the Euro. Our defense allowed everything - and cutting, and untimely decisions, and falling asleep right during the game... Lunin also acted uncertainly in this game. All this contributed to Romania's victory with such a score. You can solve the problem in defense - to act more compactly, as in the sparring with Germany, against which we came out with five defenders. And for Ukraine to play the first number one is to pour water on the opponent's mill.

- The first missed goal was caused by strange manipulations with the ball, when there is an incomprehensible shuffle near the penalty area and involvement of our goalkeeper in this risky process....

- Matvienko was asleep... He saw the opponent right in front of him and decided to give, as they say, - a pass under the splice, that is, to get rid of the ball... Of course, you can't do that. A more skillful defender would have kicked it somewhere else. I knew that Matvienko would do something that should not be done... He plays like that for Shakhtar. As a result, Lunin had to carry the ball away. Such mistakes break the team. After this goal, the Blue-Yellows started to get nervous.

By the way, the second conceded goal occurred after Konopli's cutting on the flank, after which there was a successful counterattack of the Romanians - 0:2, and the game was done... And then happened what I was most afraid of - some players of the Ukrainian national team began to sell themselves, to do what they came to the Euro... Unlike us, Romania was a team! Conclusion - if before they used to say: show me your midfield and I will tell you what kind of team you have, now you should say: show me your defense and everything will be clear. Remember how we conceded the third goal - the opponent took away two players - Mudryk and Shaparenko - in the penalty area on one swing. You can't do that...

An indicative marker of the confrontation is how, somewhere in the 15th minute of the match, when Zabarny was first on the ball, the Romanian fought to the last and inserted his foot so that he broke the rules - harshly, but this is the mood for the game, mobilized, charged to fight. In the Romanian team all 11 players did so, and the Ukrainians played on clean balls.

- What's next? How can the Ukrainian national team correct this situation?

- There should be a serious conversation. Of course, we can remember what kind of soccer we showed in the first 15 minutes of the match with the Romanians and say to ourselves that not everything is still lost. We have to forget the result. We will have to ask each other: are we a team, did we come here to sell ourselves, or maybe we have already achieved everything?

- Should we expect changes in the lineup?

- I don`t think we should cut the lineup - it`s not the way. On the contrary, you can give a chance, say: you "went to shit", but there is an opportunity to prove that you are strong performers... Let the old guard of the Ukraine national team say their weighty word, and, of course, the coaching staff. It is clear that all our shortcomings came out in one match, but we should not put our heads down.

Let's look at the Slovaks in the match with Belgium (Slovakia beat Belgium 1:0 in the parallel match of the group - ed.). But the main thing is to work on their mistakes. The game of the Ukrainian national team defense will still be disturbing, because these mistakes are systemic, and there is no choice... It is also disturbing how Shaparenko played, who was frankly scared of opponents, was extremely indecisive in the fight.

It is now that our national team will have to pass the test of strength - both the team and each individual player. The moment of truth has come. Each player of the Ukrainian national team needs to prove that he is a figure! And our team - that everything is in its hands.

Oleg Semenchenko

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