Ukraine coach Andriy Shevchenko has said that his team isn’t scared of facing England after overcoming Sweden to book a Euro 2020 quarter-final against Gareth Southgate’s team, who saw off Germany in a historic win at Wembley a few hours earlier.
The former Chelsea and AC Milan striker, who was appointed national team coach in 2016, said England’s ‘strength’ will only further motivate his players to cause an upset.
Ukraine impressed in their opening two group games but only picked up three points, before a final defeat to Austria left them in third place and waiting for other results to send them through the knockout stages. In the end, they scraped it as the lowest ranked third place team to progress.
But a 2-1 win over Sweden in the last 16, secured in stoppage time of extra-time by striker Artem Dovbyk’s first international goal, handed Shevchenko’s team their first ever European Championship knockout win and a first ever tournament knockout win that wasn’t on penalties.
Despite England’s confidence, Ukraine will be looking to keep their own fairytale going and Shevchenko is adamant his team, while aware of the size of the task, will not fear anything.
“England are a great team, they have a deep bench, an outstanding coaching staff and we are fully aware how tough this game is going to be,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“I saw all their three group matches, not the win over Germany because we had to prepare for our own game with Sweden. They are incredibly difficult to score against but their strength shouldn’t scare us. It should motivate us because everything is possible in football as in life and we will play our hearts out to give our fans even more to cheer about.”
England and Ukraine will meet in the quarter-final clash in Rome on Saturday 3 July. It will be the second time the countries have played each other in a European Championship tournament after being paired in the same group at Euro 2012.
England won 1-0 on that occasion thanks to solitary goal from Wayne Rooney, while a veteran Shevchenko played in what was actually the last game of his illustrious career.