Ukraine’s journey at Euro 2020 came to an end following a 4-0 defeat to England in the quarter-final in Rome on Saturday. Andriy Shevchenko’s side gave it their all, but that wasn’t enough, as the Blue and Yellow were taken apart by a very hungry English team in the Italian capital.
Ukraine couldn’t stand up to England and came up well short against Gareth Southgate’s rampant side. For the kind of tournament Ukraine have had, they probably didn’t deserve to go out this way. However, football can sometimes be a cruel game.
Ukraine punished for their mistakes
While the Three Lions were in superb form, they were also aided by Ukraine’s comical defending during the game. Harry Kane’s opening goal was as a result of poor man-marking by Ukraine, while Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson were left unmarked in the box to head home.
Perhaps, their lack of big-match experience proved to be Ukraine's undoing. The Blue and Yellow have been away from the big stage for a while, and it looked like they were overawed by the occasion.
Unlike in their previous matches where they were proactive, compact and resilient, Shevchenko’s side looked fragile against England and were made to pay for their mistakes.
Shevchenko creating something special with Ukraine
Despite exiting the tournament, there are a lot of positives Ukraine can take back from their Euro 2020 campaign. They reached this stage of the tournament through hard work and determination.
That is why Shevchenko deserves plaudits for how far the team has come. The former Chelsea and AC Milan striker has managed to transform the team into a fearless unit ready to take on any team.
"In order to be able to compete with such players, you need to have players who play in the top five leagues,” Shevchenko said in his post-match press conference, as quoted by Sportstar. We're going to go back to Kiev; we'll summarise everything and report on what we have achieved. The federation will have to make a decision (about our futures); there is time to do it; no one is in a rush.”
Shevchenko has created something special with this crop of players, and it is evident in the way they play. Ukraine may not have reached the semi-final at Euro 2020, but they did themselves very proud with their impressive performances.
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