Oleksandr Petrakov: Nobody will have an easy life in our Euro-2022 qualification group

The Ukraine U-18 team's head coach (players not older than 2003) Oleksandr Petrakov commented on the results of the Euro-2022 qualifying draw for his team, which will move to the U-19 category at the start of the tournament. 

There was a draw on December, XNUMX of Euro-2022 qualifying round (U-19). Following the results, Ukrainian team, which was in the first pot, will meet with the teams of Poland, Finland and Malta.

Mini-tournaments in groups will take place from August 30 to September 7, from October 4 to 12, or from November 8 to 16, 2021.

The winners of the first two places in the quartets and the best team among those who will take third place in the matches with the first and second teams, will join Portugal in the elite qualifying round.

- What can you say on the results of the draw?

- The results as they are (smiles). However, it is still unknown where we will play and whether we will play at all, given the situation with COVID-19. The host country of the qualifying round and the dates of the competition will be known in the near future following a video conference of representatives of our associations. At least I would like to play in November, and as for the venue of the competition, I would like it to be Poland.

- What can you say about the rivals?

- Poland is a very decent team. Many of its footballers play in Germany, there are representatives of the Italian championship, so it will not be easy with the Poles. I have a video of their match against Belgium. Finland has only progressed in recent years. In this country with a population of 5,5 million there are 86 indoor football arenas. And we have met with Malta more than once. At first glance, they appear to be the underdogs, but the Maltese compensate for the lack of skill with full dedication and good physical fitness. Nobody will have an easy life qualification in our group.

- Do you have a preliminary plan for when the team will gather in the new year?

- At the moment there is no plan, and it is not surprising in the current situation. This is a problem for everyone. We haven't seen the guys for almost a year. The last time our team gathered was in February 2020.

- Recently, all coaches of the youth national teams of Ukraine extended their contracts with UAF. Some were surprised by the absence of your last name in the list...

- There is nothing strange here. My three-year agreement with the Ukrainian Association of Football was signed a year ago after the U-20 World Cup, so I have another two-year contract. 

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