Tsikhmeistruk: How Zinchenko plays at Arsenal and how he played in Malta are two big differences

Tsikhmeistruk: How Zinchenko plays at Arsenal and how he played in Malta are two big differences

Former midfielder of the blue-yellows – about the match Malta – Ukraine

The Ukrainian national team achieved a strong-willed victory in Malta, beating its opponent in a qualifying match for the European Championship with a score of 3:1. However, the quality of our players’ play raised many questions. We discussed the actions of the leaders of the blue-yellows with ex-footballer of the national team of Ukraine Eduard Tsikhmeistruk.

See also: Malta – Ukraine. Goal video and match review

— Compared to the match in Prague against North Macedonia, head coach of the Ukrainian national team Sergei Rebrov made three changes to the starting lineup. How do you like the performance of Karavaev, Sidorchuk and Vanat?

— Karavaeav, with his successful substitution in the previous match, his appearance in the starting lineup. Sidorchuk played instead of Stepanenko, and Vanat replaced Zubkov. To say that these three players fit into the team’s game and strengthened it is no.

— What impression did the game of our team make on you?

– Ambiguous. Having lost already in the opening of the match, we needed to get back into the game. But, looking at the actions of our guys, it was not clear how we could change the situation on the football field. We all understand that in Europe all national teams learned to play football. And these are not empty words. The Maltese players actively pressed for about 15 minutes, but we, it seemed, were not ready for this. Perhaps there was a lack of adjustment on our part. And then a miracle happened – an own goal by a Maltese national team player. There is a big difference at what score you go for the break. Nobody likes to lose.

– Let’s look at the home team’s goal. The hosts’ striker Mbong very easily ran away from Matvienko and shot between Trubin’s legs. What’s up with Matvienko’s speed?

— We know Nikolai Matvienko’s game very well. He is an experienced football player and plays through skillful choice of position, good passing, and he is great at taking set pieces near the opponent’s goal. Speed ​​has never been his strong point. And here we got a fast forward and that’s it. Plus, it is necessary to note the mistake of our midfielders, who did not particularly interfere with making an accurate pass to Mbonga.

— During the break, we saw Rebrov’s reaction – he replaced Matvienko, releasing Svatka onto the football field. Usually defenders are not changed during the break…

— You are right, central defenders are not changed during the break of the match. The teamwork of the defenders is important here. Perhaps Matvienko has something wrong with his health, or maybe Sergei Stanislavovich saw that Nikolai’s game was not going well. Svatka’s replacement paid off. He played solid defense, and the team won. In general, in the second half, our defense became calmer.

— At the end of the first half, Artem Dovbik brought our team ahead by scoring from the penalty spot. Why did our forwards score the first goal only in the seventh match of the qualifying tournament?

– Of course, we are all used to attackers scoring goals. And then there’s this series… We need to figure this out. Artem always has chances, but he couldn’t convert them. In Malta, Artem. It doesn’t matter how the goal is scored – the fact itself is important. This will add Dovbik’s confidence in his abilities. Although he is already scoring in Girona.

Malta – Ukraine, photo – UAF

— How would you rate the second half for the Ukrainian national team?

— The second half, as well as the whole game, was nervous on our part. The score 2:1 is quite dangerous. It seems that you want to score the third goal to calm down, but at the same time you need to maintain a minimal advantage. What I saw: there was no solid performance from our team in Malta. Winning away is the most important thing in a game like this. It’s good that it all ended this way. I think no one enjoyed the game between the Ukrainian national team and Malta.

— In this meeting, Mikhail Mudryk scored his first goal for the Ukrainian national team. Is this important to him?

– Certainly. Mudryk is under a lot of pressure both at Chelsea and in the Ukrainian national team. Much is expected of him. In Malta he earned a penalty and then scored a goal. In this attack, he developed high speed, easily beat the defender and powerfully shot from outside the penalty area into the corner of the goal. After this moment, all fans of the Ukrainian national team breathed a sigh of relief. There were still 5 minutes left to play plus injury time. And any attack or standard from the hosts could lead to the loss of points.

— Did you like the performance of team captain Alexander Zinchenko in this meeting?

– No to me. Sasha plays in a strong club and an excellent championship. Therefore, expectations from his game are high. The way he plays at Arsenal and the way he played in Malta are two big differences. In addition, he was also a captain on the football field. We didn’t see the whole picture in his game. Everything fell into small episodes. Although here it is worth praising the Maltese national team players. They put pressure on our players and scored a pretty nice goal.

— Our team has a nominally home match with Italy ahead of them in the Euro qualifying round. On November 20, in Leverkusen, Germany, the second team will be determined, which will join the England team from Group C in the final part of the European Championship. What chances does the Ukrainian team have to take second place in the group?

— If speaking objectively, the Italian team has a better chance of taking second place. But this is the situation in mid-October. But we’ll see what changes in a month. However, first they need to win against North Macedonia, and then play against our team. Remember, after the draw everyone said that Ukraine had virtually no chance of qualifying for the Euro. Still, we admit that our guys’ group is very difficult. But we showed that anything is possible in football. The main thing is that everything is in our hands. There is still a month until this meeting and I would like there to be no injuries.

To take second place you need to beat direct competitors. So everything is fair. If we beat Italy, we will go to the European Championships, which will be held in Germany next year. On November 20th, our players need to be 200% ready to achieve success against the Italians.

Source: Sportarena

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