News, Culture & Society

Euro 2020: SCOUTING REPORT – Andriy Yarmolenko has found a spark but Ukraine always concede

SCOUTING REPORT: Andriy Yarmolenko has found a spark at the Euros while England must be wary of Ukraine’s attacking wing backs… but the good news is Shevchenko’s side ALWAYS concede

England will play Ukraine in their Euro 2020 quarter-final in Rome after Andriy Shevchenko’s side earned a dramatic extra-time victory over Sweden.

Artem Dovbyk scored in the final minute of time added on after Oleksandr Zinchenko’s first half strike had been cancelled out by Emil Forsberg. 

Gareth Southgate’s side beat Germany 2-0 at Wembley earlier in the day and will have been pleased to see their opponents have to endure an extra 30 minutes of football.

England will play Ukraine after they earned a dramatic extra-time victory over Sweden

KEY MAN 

Andriy Yarmolenko

Enigmatic character but has really taken to the role of captaining this team. Only his manager, Andriy Shevchenko, has scored more than his 42 international goals for Ukraine.

Just a bit-part player at West Ham United last season, he looks like a completely different proposition for his national team. He only scored 10 league goals in his last four club seasons since leaving Dynamo Kiev yet has sparked back into life at the Euros.

He scored Ukraine’s first goal against the Netherlands in the group stages as his side threatened an unlikely comeback in their opening game. He continued his momentum, grabbing the first in their win over North Macedonia in the next game.

Euro 2020: SCOUTING REPORT - Andriy Yarmolenko has found a spark but Ukraine always concede

Andriy Yarmolenko is the danger man and has found a spark while captaining his country

Yarmolenko’s role in Tuesday’s opener, scored by Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko, is exactly what Shevchenko will want from him. 

Picking up the ball out wide, he waited for the opportune moment to intelligently flick a cross towards the back post and bring his left wing back into play. Yarmolenko is forever occupying two markers.

STRENGTHS

There looks to be a lovely balance to Ukraine, whose flat five across midfield were energetic in harassing when suitable while Taras Stepanenko intelligently screens a back three. 

The wing backs sit in without the ball in their own third, while both are encouraged to get involved higher up the pitch.

Ukraine's wing backs are encouraged to get forward, which was obvious for their opening goal against Sweden - scored by Oleksandr Zinchenko

Ukraine’s wing backs are encouraged to get forward, which was obvious for their opening goal against Sweden – scored by Oleksandr Zinchenko 

That was obvious for the opener, which ended with Zinchenko screaming a first-time shot into the far corner but involved three others in the build-up, including a raking ball from the youthful Mykola Shaparenko and then a clever lay-off by Oleksandr Karavaev.

The midfield are happy to go and join in, often waiting for Yarmolenko’s superb hold-up play before committing to leaving their stations. 

Serhiy Sydorchuk did just that after the break, striking a post from the edge of the box after the striker’s pull back.

WEAKNESSES

They always concede. Ukraine have only kept one clean sheet in their last 16 competitive fixtures since October 2019 — and that was a smash-and-grab home win over Spain, who wasted plenty of chances in that Nations League fixture.

There is a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of teenager Illya Zabarnyi, who operates on the right of the three-man defence.

Andriy Shevchenko's side always concede and have kept only one clean sheet in 16 games

Andriy Shevchenko’s side always concede and have kept only one clean sheet in 16 games

Illya Zabarnyi (left) operates on the right of a three-man defence and will have a big task to keep England's forwards quiet on Saturday

Illya Zabarnyi (left) operates on the right of a three-man defence and will have a big task to keep England’s forwards quiet on Saturday

He has to cover any vacant space left by Karavaev. They have to be careful not to play too high a line, which saw Sweden engineer a way in behind on Tuesday.

Ukraine started surprisingly slowly, too — allowing Sweden to dominate the ball in the opening exchanges. 

A fast start could take a tie away from them because, while organised, they probably lack enough individual quality to hurt teams when chasing a game.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk