Alexander Petrakov: "France national team is a team with virtually no weaknesses"

Head coach of the U-19 U-XNUMX national team Alexander Petrakov spoke about the preparation and prospects of his team at the forthcoming European Championship.

Yesterday the youth team of Ukraine (players not older than 1999 year of birth) went to Finland, where he will live and train before the start of the final of the European Championship. And on the eve of departure, the head coach of the team Alexander Petrakov answered questions from the official site of the FFU.

- Alexander Vasilyevich, with what mood does the national team go to Finland?

- In my nature, I always try to be optimistic, but the condition of the players is still far from optimal, because the guys just started work after the holidays. I specifically arranged two sparring to get players at least some tone. Our coaching staff will have two full weeks to prepare for the Euro, while our first group contender, the French national team, has been training since June 18 ...

As for the injured, Kashchuk needs another four to five days to be able to work at full strength, and Kornienko in the second match with the Colossus has received damage to the lateral ligament of the knee, but we hope that he will have time to recover in the shortest possible time.

- Do football players understand all the responsibility that lies with them?

- I believe in this. We will try to make them approach the start of the tournament in the best possible condition, but it will not be easy. We go to Finland to defend the honor of the country. Although it should be understood that at such a difficult time for Ukraine to get to the final part of the European Championship, where there will be no Spain, Holland, Germany - is already a success ...

- Does the task of the national team of Ukraine not change?

- No. With the coaching staff and the football players, we have chosen a minimum goal - to get to the World Cup. To do this, you need to take a place at least five in the Euro.

- Will the start of the tournament, with France, be the most difficult?

- How to say. In UEFA-sponsored competitions, the first criterion for an equal number of points is personal meetings, so a draw can only satisfy us from a psychological point of view. We will try to win, although I have repeatedly watched the matches of the French in the elite round and I can say that this team is almost without weaknesses.

- Are they favorites of the group?

- Along with England. The British became world champions two years ago. This is a very strong team.

- Do you think the opponents in the group have fears that they will play against Ukraine?

- Maybe the British have. They are following everything very carefully, and they know for sure that in 2014, Ukraine won the elite round on foggy Albion, beating the hosts. And in 2016 we beat the British in the elite round with a difference of balls. But as you know, every match is a story. With the French in my teams, not everything is going smoothly, and we have beaten Turkey recently, but it is a very strong team. There are many individually strong players in it.

- In the neighboring group, who is the main contender for the semi-finals?

- Definitely Portugal. Italy, Norway and Finland will fight for the second round.


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