Oleksandr Kosenko: "The boys demonstrated character and fighting qualities"

Oleksandr Kosenko, head coach of the Ukrainian futsal team, commented on his team's last friendly matches.

In September, the blue-yellow team held a national sports competition in Choresk, Romania, timed to prepare for World Cup-2024 qualifying, during which three matches were played. First, in a friendly match, our boys defeated Moldova (6:1), and then won the Three Nations Cup, beating the same Moldova (7:4) and Romania (3:1).

Oleksandr Kosenko, the head coach of the Ukrainian national futsal team, summed up the results of these games and also talked about the team's future plans. His words lead the Futsal Association of Ukraine press-service reports,.

— Oleksandr Petrovych, how would you sum up the friendly matches with the national team of Moldova and the match against Romania?

— As in any meeting, there are positive and negative moments. All three matches turned out to be quite good. We received interesting information based on their results. We will draw appropriate conclusions. First of all, it is good that we won these three matches. The last of them was already played against the background of fatigue, when the Romanian national team played the first. Nevertheless, the boys demonstrated character and fighting qualities. At the right moment, skill played its role, and the team managed to win. In general, we received positive impressions.

— Did the opponents surprise you with something?

— I liked the game of both opponents. It is clear that both Moldova and Romania want to develop. They devote a lot of time to positional attacks, getting out of pressing, standard positions. The teams have experienced and qualified performers, and youth are involved in the composition.

— Questions about matches with Moldova. It seemed that the first match was quite simple for the national team of Ukraine, and already in the second meeting the opponent tried to get closer. What is it connected with?

— I wouldn't say that the matches were too different from each other. Indeed, the difference in the score was not the same. The opponent had scoring opportunities in both meetings. With a score of 3:0 in the first match, we developed our advantage, and the opponent had no hopes for a positive result. Instead, in the second match, the scoreboard showed the same indicators, but we gave the opponent a free kick, which he converted. With the support of the stands, the team went forward and quickly scored the second goal. That is why the game became more intense. Despite the final scores (6:1 and 7:4 in favor of the Ukrainian national team), I liked the Moldovans. They not only fought back, but also successfully counterattacked, combined and interacted with each other. It was important for us to face teams that play themselves and allow the opponent to do it.

Photo by futsal.md

— In contrast to the matches of a year ago, there were significantly more naturalized futsal players in the Romanian national team. Did it add even more interest to the match against this national team?

- Of course, Brazilians are Brazilians. Only high level players are naturalized. In my opinion, there are really strong Brazilians in the Romanian national team. They play an important role in this team. So, of course, it was more interesting. In addition, young performers are added to the composition. I liked the game of Istvan Hadnad, who acted in the post position. The match turned out to be quite tense and until the last minutes it was not clear who would win. It's good that we had such a match before the official matches.

— On October 7 and 11, the national team of Ukraine will play matches in the main round of European qualification for the 2024 World Cup. When will the preparation for them begin?

— We will play home matches against the national teams of Kosovo and the Netherlands in Latvia. Preparations for these meetings will begin on October 3.

We would like to add that ahead of the Ukrainian futsal team are home matches of the main round of selection for the 2024 World Cup, which will take place in Latvia. The match against Kosovo will be held on October 7 in the city of Salaspils, against the Netherlands on October 11 in the city of Jelgava.

WC-2024. European qualification. Main round. Group 11

18.09.2022

Netherlands — Kosovo — 2:1

07.10.2022

Ukraine - Kosovo

11.10.2022

Ukraine - The Netherlands

09.11.2022

Kosovo - Ukraine

03.03.2023

Kosovo — Netherlands

08.03.2023

Netherlands - Ukraine

In the main round, 36 national teams are divided into 12 groups of three teams each, in which matches will be played at home and away. The 12 group winners and the four best runners-up will advance to the elite round. The other eight runners-up will compete in the main round playoffs.

WC-2024. European qualification. Main round

Group 1: Spain, Moldova, Cyprus.

Group 2: Georgia, Belgium, Austria.

Group 3: Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia.

Group 4: Portugal, Belarus, Lithuania.

Group 5: Kazakhstan, Slovenia, Montenegro.

Group 6: Azerbaijan, Poland, Greece.

Group 7: Croatia, Hungary, Israel.

Group 8: Finland, Romania, Denmark.

Group 9: Serbia, France, Norway.

Group 10: Italy, North Macedonia, Sweden.

Group 11: Ukraine, Netherlands, Kosovo.

Group 12: Slovakia, Latvia, Germany.

Framework

Qualification takes place in five stages: the preliminary round (mini-tournaments), the main round (groups with home and away matches), the playoffs of the main round (home and away matches), the elite round (groups with home and away matches) and elite round playoffs (home and away matches).

Main round playoffs

Draw: March 10, 2023.

Matches: April 10-19, 2023.

Eight teams will be divided into four pairs, the matches will be held at home and away. The winners will advance to the elite round.

Elite round

Draw: July 5, 2023

Matches: will be completed by December 20, 2023.

20 national teams will be divided into five groups of four teams, the matches will be held at home and away. Five winners of the groups will go to the 2024 World Cup. The four best winners of the second places will go to the playoffs of the elite round. If the European Association is selected for the final tournament, only the top two runners-up will advance to the playoffs of the elite round.

Elite round playoffs

Draw: January 25, 2024

Matches: April 8-17, 2024.

Four teams will be divided into two pairs (if only two teams will take part in the playoffs, a draw will be held to determine the order of matches), matches will be held at home and away. The winners will go to the 2024 World Cup.

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