Shevchenko Announces Ukraine Squad

Shevchenko Announces Ukraine Squad

Following Ukraine’s embarrassing performance in this year’s Euro 2016 competition held in France, and the appointment of Andriy Shevchenko as the new manager of the Ukrainian national football team, it appears that a new horizon is in place for the Ukrainian football nation.

Having recently celebrated its twenty fifth year of independence, and having previously qualified only once in five attempts for the FIFA World Cup, the Zbirna is now looking for their second World Cup qualification.

On August 25, one day after Ukrainian Independence Day, Shevchenko announced his first squad list as manager, in preparation for Ukraine’s FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying match against Iceland, which will be held on Monday, September 5. Notable exclusions were: Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, who retired from the national team following Ukraine’s Euro 2016 campaign; left back, Vyacheslav Shevchuk, who acted as captain for part of Ukraine’s Euro matches; and veteran Ruslan Rotan.

Perhaps most surprising, however, was the inclusion of several new youth players, in addition to the recall of Roman Bezus, who had fallen out of favor with former manager, Mykhailo Fomenko, following Ukraine’s 3-2 defeat to France on aggregate during the second round of FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifications.

There are several positive signs that can be noted from Shevchenko’s selection. For example, both Roman Zozulya and Artem Fedetskiy left their native Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, and will be playing in La Liga and the Bundesliga, respectively, this season. Furthermore, it is still speculated that Dynamo Kyiv’s Andriy Yarmolenko may leave by the end of the transfer window, and with Yevhen Konoplyanka, Roman Bezus, Vladlen Yurchenko, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Yevhen Shakhov currently playing in leagues outside of Ukraine, this provides greater squad depth to the Ukrainian national team.

For several years, fans of the Ukrainian national team have criticized the fact that Ukrainian players are reluctant to leave their native homeland and branch out to better, more competitive leagues in Europe. Given recent developments, it can be argued that Ukraine’s squad depth has strengthened considerably, and will develop even further under the guidance of Shevchenko and because several of these players compete outside the crisis ridden Ukrainian Premier Liha.

In addition, the inclusion of several youth players means that they have the opportunity to develop over time, Thus Ukraine’s future looks promising. Another criticism by Ukrainian fans was that too many of the senior players were already past their prime, the correction of this situation gives Ukraine another opportunity to further strengthen its style of play. Overall, it is expected that Shevchenko will bring exciting football to the Ukrainian national team, and there is hope for a more promising future for the Ukrainian national team.

Here is the Ukraine squad that will face Iceland on September 5 at the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex:

Goalkeepers: Denys Boyko (Beşiktaş); Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk); Mykyta Shevchenko (Zorya Luhansk)

Defenders: Artem Fedetskiy (SV Darmstadt 98); Oleksandr Kucher, Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Bohdan Butko, Ivan Ordets, Serhiy Kryvtsov (all Shakhtar); Yevhen Khacheridi (Dynamo Kyiv); Pavlo Ksyonz (Karpaty Lviv); Eduard Sobol (Zorya Luhansk)

Midfielders: Andriy Yarmolenko, Serhiy Sydorchuk, Serhiy Rybalka, Vitaliy Buyalskiy, Denis Harmash (all Dynamo Kyiv); Taras Stepanenko, Maksym Malyshev, Viktor Kovalenko (Shakhtar Donetsk); Oleksandr Karavayev, Ivan Petryak (Zorya Luhansk); Yevhen Konoplyanka (Sevilla); Roman Bezus (Sint-Truidense V.V.); Vladlen Yurchenko (Bayer 04 Leverkusen); Oleksandr Zinchenko (Manchester City); Yevhen Shakhov (PAOK)

Forwards: Roman Zozulya (Real Betis); Yevhen Seleznyov (Shakhtar Donetsk); Artem Dovbyk, Denys Balanyuk (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk)

By Mark Temnycky –

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
  • comment-avatar
    Chris 3 years

    Mark

    Very informative article. A few things interest me: how will sheva line up the squad? Does he go with the 4-2-3-1 that fomenko favored? Or does he go wth the diamond midfield that Blokhin used in 06 and 12? Second, does sheva press more or go with a defensive/counter attacking style? Third, it’s concerning that sheva’s first match will actually be a qualifier against high-flying iceland whereas it would’ve been nice to start with a friendly. Finally, the spine of this squad is weak. We haven’t had a quality striker since the sheva/rebrov/voronin days, the CAM position is held by 2 kids under 20 years old, stepanenko is a solid CDM but he doesn’t seem to read the game well enough to be the only holding mid, our center backs make mistakes in their coverages, and pyatov provides a keeper blunder every now and again. It’ll be interesting to see how sheva hides the weaknesses but qualification for the WC will be difficult.

    Byd’mo!

  • comment-avatar
    Mark Temnycky 3 years

    Dear Chris,

    Thanks for the message! To answer your questions:

    1. Despite naming several youth players in the squad, I still expect a senior team similar to Fomenko’s style of play, though this may change over the course of Shevchenko’s tenure. Therefore I’d expect a 4-2-3-1 formation, at least against Iceland.

    2. I think it will depend against the opponent. Fomenko was well know for never adjusting his tactics, and thus resulted to a rather defensive style of football. I’d expect a similar style of play against WC qualification opponents Croatia, Iceland, or Turkey, but could also see a strong, attaching style against teams such as Finland or Kosovo.

    3. Agreed. Unfortunately, Shevchenko will not have an opportunity to experiment with the side until the first qualifier, and although one match out of 10 may not be a huge issue, every point will matter.

    4. In the past Zozulya, Seleznyov, and Kravets have been unable to live up to Shevchenko’s prowess. Perhaps Shevchenko could play with a false nine? But the lack of a quality striker is very alarming, and was evident during this year’s Euro competition in France.

    In addition, hopefully by including several Ukrainian nationals who play throughout Europe, their experience will help propel Ukraine forward. It could be argued that one of the reasons why Ukraine performed poorly at the Euros is because nearly every player plays in the Ukrainian Premier Liha, a rather uncompetitive league (see constant winners Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv), and thus the players were not mentally prepared for such a competition as many of them are not used to constant pressure or challenging opponents.

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