Oleh Kuznetsov: I saw in the eyes of the guys that they wanted to win over Portugal

The head coach of the U-17 national team of Ukraine Oleh Kuznetsov summed up the team's performance in the qualifying round of the European Championship.

The youth national team of Ukraine (players not older than 2005) made an incredible comeback in the qualifying round of Euro-2022 (U-17). After the defeat from Wales (1: 3) there was a victory in Kazakhstan (3: 0). But the main match of this tournament was against the Portuguese. In this meeting, the blue-yellow could not lose, and even a draw did not guarantee access to the elite round of the competition. However, twice losing in the course of the match, the Ukrainians snatched the victory (3: 2) and took first place in their group. After returning home, the head coach of the national team of Ukraine Oleh Kuznetsov answered questions from the official website of the UAF.

- Only few people expected that your wards will be able to win in Portugal. What was the key to success?

- If we didn't believe, it wouldn't be possible to go out on the pitch. We analyzed the game of the Portuguese, made changes to their lineup, and the players were told that if they wanted to get to the elite round, they needed to win, otherwise two years would have fallen. We had individual conversations, and I saw in the eyes of the guys that they wanted to win. With errors or without them, but the team performed the game plan.

- Also, few expected us to lose to Wales. Strong team?

- Not stronger than ours. Of course, it was a pity to lose the opening match. It's just that the team got acclimatized. We arrived in Portugal on the 8th, it was almost 25 degrees warm. And on the second day there was a game, so the guys were exhausted a little. Plus individual mistakes.

After the duel with the British, everything was still in our hands. We won two matches and achieved our goal. Kazakhstan also showed itself on the good side, he took points in Wales. And in the meeting with us, the Kazakhs were confused by two red cards.

- Your wards scored more than half of the goals after the break. Did the team look good physically?

- We understood that it was the end of the first part of the season, so the training process was built more on emotional sessions that maintain tone. I was satisfied with the condition of the guys, except that only minutes after the 70th match with the Portuguese, it was clear that many of our players are looking pleadingly at the bench with the hope that they will be replaced. But nothing, withstood. Well done!

- Dynamo midfielder Dmytro Kremchanin became the most productive player of the national team of Ukraine. Is he the leader of the national team?

- Rather one of the leaders. He scores a lot in the club and gives assists, and in the national team he shows effective football. His game was not a revelation to anyone.

- The elite round of Euro-2022 (U-17) will take place in March. Will your team gather before these starts?

- Everything is still at the approval stage. There is an option to hold a weekly training camp in Turkey in late January to play a pair of sparring matches. There will be several national teams of our age at this time.

Euro-2022 (U-17) Qualifying Round

Group 11 

10.11.2021 

Wales - Ukraine - 3: 1

Portugal - Kazakhstan - 5: 0 

13.11.2021

Portugal - Wales - 2: 0

Ukraine - Kazakhstan - 3: 0

16.11.2021

Ukraine Portugal - 3: 2 

Kazakhstan - Wales - 1: 1

Standings

 

 

G

W

D

L

GD

P

1

 Ukraine

3

2

0

1

7-5

6

2

 Portugal

3

2

0

1

9-3

6

3

 Wales

3

1

1

1

4-4

4

4

 Kazakhstan

3

0

1

2

1-9

1

The elite qualifying round, which will take place in the spring of 2022, will feature the two strongest teams of 13 groups, as well as the top four teams, which took third place in the meetings with the first and second teams of their four. The national teams of the Netherlands and Spain received direct passes to the elite round.

The Israeli national team as the host of the Euro received an automatic ticket to the final stage of the tournament, which will be held in May 2022. The winners of eight groups of the elite round and the seven best second teams will also get there.

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