Romania - Ukraine - 3:0. Moonlight Sonata

2024-06-18 11:05 Like all Ukrainian fans, I am naturally in some shock from what I saw yesterday in ... Romania - Ukraine - 3:0. Moonlight Sonata
18.06.2024, 11:05

Like all Ukrainian fans, I am naturally in some shock from what I saw yesterday in the performance of the Ukrainian national team. You can not lose matches of this rank, or even more precisely, you can not stop playing when losing. Here no one will not feel sorry for anyone, but will cast a full net. It is surprising that the national team, which has enough experience of playing at the Euros in almost its entirety, played not as befitting an experienced solid team, but as, excuse me, a hell knows who.

But. Let's separate what happened before the first goal and after. This is very important, because the easiest thing to do is to say that everything is bad and fire everyone. With such assessments we will resemble the players, who yesterday on the field also thought about themselves. So.

Until the goal the game was led by the Ukraine national team. Of course, we did not get anything, but at the championships we rarely get everything at once. The first games are often not spectacular. But even in these unspectacular first minutes I liked the long throws to our attacking players, which seemed to bring results. I also thought that the new tactic of playing not as usual shallow, but wide, could bring success. Luring the Romanians out and throwing them "by the scruff of the neck" in the hope of our speedy flanks - perhaps that was the idea.

Sergei Rebrov's team in general plays ugly, pragmatic and some kind of nervous soccer, which we have already become accustomed to. There is no beauty there. But we did not need any beautiful game in the first game against a completely unfamiliar opponent, who, it should be noted, prepared brilliantly for the confrontation with us. He cut off the oxygen to all key players, "allowing" to play only through Taras Stepanenko. Our players in the middle of the half felt that they could not do what they wanted and all somehow "chorus" stopped, not understanding how to play when nothing works. This idiotic rolling of the ball to their own goal began. And finally the ball rolled to Real Madrid goalkeeper Andrei Lunin.

Here I will express my opinion, I will try not to offend anyone. Lunin is a goalkeeper who constantly "sleeps" on the field. I didn't want to write this when he slept through a goal from the Icelandic national team in the playoffs, even more so, I didn't want to criticize Lunin during a conditionally triumphant season for him in Spain. Let him. If people like it. Anyway, Lunin only occasionally comes out of anabiosis when he sees that the ball is somewhere near. Then he really has a great reaction, he enters the game, saves or does not save the goal. To go back to sleep. Until the next moment.

Lunin does not live the game. The great Tony Schumacher in his book "Whistle" wrote about this very thing, that a goalkeeper must live a life on the field. "I prompt everyone, from defenders to attackers, I shout, even though I realize they can't hear me at the other end of the pitch...". That's the goalkeeper. The owner of the penalty box, the owner of the team, the owner of the game.

Lunin lives inside himself. He is calm, which is probably one of his positive qualities, but he is too calm for his position. He "fell asleep", realizing that the game is being played in Romania's half of the pitch and did not realize that Matvienko already has the ball and the opposing forward is running at him. Mykola Matvienko - a defender with tremendous experience of playing at different levels played as if he was transferred from the double team to the first team yesterday. He gave Lunin not even a free kick, but poked the ball into the goal, which was too much for the sleepy Lunin. We saw what happened next.

An episode of such a plan is able to break everything. And, if we remember the game against Romania at the 1990 World Cup of the USSR national team under the leadership of Lobanovsky, we will also note that in general we pressed. And just as well in the middle of the first half began with the goalkeeper - Dasaev, who unsuccessfully took the ball into the field, there was a counterattack, the whole team was ahead and failed to return, and Dasaev himself did not help, missing a shot in the center of the goal.

This goal ruined everything: the tournament strategy, plans, broke several careers, forced to finish with the big soccer some players, did not allow to get lucrative contracts to those players who definitely deserved it. Marius Lăkătuş's goal alone, who did not score more at that championship.

Stancu's goal ruined only one game so far. What happened next requires no explanation. Rebrov had a chance to win the locker room, but he lost it. I think he should have made stabilizing substitutions at halftime: for example. Let Yarmolenko and Sidorchuk out. Let the team calm down and stop the hysteria. But, apparently, in the locker room everyone only got more excited and came out for the second half, playing every man for himself.

Sergei Rebrov, no matter how great a coach he is, has less experience playing for the national team at major tournaments than most of the players in his team. Perhaps he doesn't quite understand how to prepare the team for a tournament of this type. I'm not saying this to hurt Sergei Stanislavovich in any way, I'm looking for a reason or parts of a reason. I think at halftime Rebrov didn't know what to do. In such cases it is better to keep quiet, which is what he did, I think.

I do not want to discuss Lunin's mistake in the situation with the second goal, when the ball flew under his hands. He himself explained that he did not see the moment of the shot. I personally was not satisfied with this explanation, and again I remembered the Icelandic goal from the penalty line, and there Lunin, apparently, did not see the shot either. And such his game was recognized as successful by the coaching staff, and most importantly, by the goalkeepers coach, whose record includes mostly stable play for Illichivets.

But even after the second goal this game would not have been lost, if, as I mentioned at the beginning, the players had not decided so. Inexcusable collapse began in the team, which led to the third goal and the defeated score....

I do not know who called this Ukrainian national team the strongest in the history of our country, I think that it is on the contrary - one of the weakest. The more paradoxical is the result it has already achieved.

Several times this team has literally revived, got out of almost hopeless situations, such as after 0:2 in the first half against Northern Macedonia. Will there be another revival in the match against Slovakia? I don't know. I don't even have an answer to the question: should we change half the squad or let the same players come out and prove? Should we kill Lunin completely and put him away for good?

Probably, we should slightly reconsider the goals and try to play in such a way as to save the team, and not to gather it again from scratch after this Euro. Set a goal to look decent and, if we lose, to lose minimally. Treat ourselves more modestly and feel sorry for the fans. And do not dwell on the final result. After all, we have other priorities now, which are far away from soccer fields.

Artem ZHOLKOVSKY for Dynamo.kiev.ua

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