Victory in the group of the League of Nations and to Premier League: what was 2018 for the national team of Ukraine

The national team of Ukraine on football of 2018 finishes in the top 30 teams in the FIFA rankings. After a successful performance in the League of Nations, the Ukraine national team managed to stay on the 28 place in the final ranking the best teams in the world by FIFA.
Rotation and change of tactics from Andriy Shevchenko

2018 team under the leadership of Andriy Shevchenko started with friendly matches with teams from Saudi Arabia, Japan, Morocco and Albania.

The team had experienced staffing difficulties, because many players have not received match practice in their clubs. The team is much younger, under the leadership of Shevchenko, it debuted 20 players. The ranks of the national team was joined by young, skilful and creative players. A new generation of players, among them Viktor Tsygankov, Nikolay Shaparenko, head of Mikolenko, Roman Yaremchuk and Andrey Lunin, can create competition in the team and strengthen the National team.

In the entire history of the National team of Ukraine Andriy Shevchenko put the youngest squad for the match against Turkey. Team average age is 23.3 years. In a friendly match with Saudi Arabia 19-year-old goalkeeper Andrey Lunin became the youngest goalkeeper in the history of the national team of Ukraine.

The current team has changed the model of the game. Three years ago, our team relied on defense and played the second, running out to the counter. At the same time, this game model made it impossible to successfully play against lower level teams, which are closed in their own half. Andriy Shevchenko after the failure in qualifying for the 2018 world Cup, has not receded from the introduction of a new model of the game. Now the team relies on ball control, medium and short passes and dominate.


Thanks to successful game of the Ukrainian team in 2018 has demonstrated one of the longest winning streak in its history. Shevchenko’s team stayed unbeaten for nine matches. Since November last year, the Ukrainians have won six matches and drew three.

The first match in 2018 was friendly with Saudi Arabia. Ukraine dominated, controlling the ball, but to pass a rich defense of the opponent was not easy. In the end, the Ukrainians struck the gate rivals, but rivals are quickly equalized, scoring in gate by Andrey Lunin. The team showed the same football, and selection for the world Cup. The head coach was unhappy with the implementation of the moments. The match was lengthy and at low speeds – as a result scoring draw (1:1) and mixed game.

In the match with Japan, our team minimally outplayed the opponent (2:1). The coaching staff drastically changed the squad for the match against Japan in comparison with the match against Saudi Arabia. In General the game looked alive, the team immediately went forward. Replacement of the coaching staff became successful and the team snatched victory from Japan, although in the second half the pace of the game down.

The match against Morocco ended in a goalless draw. In the first half, the teams created several dangerous moments, and in the second the fight moved closer to the center of the field. As part of our team debuted two players “Dynamo” Nikita Burda and Nikolay Shaparenko.

Unlike games with Moroccans, in the match with Albania, the Ukraine national team completely controlled the match. Two goals were scored by Yarmolenko and Konoplyanka. However, in the 88th minute, the Albanians were able to win back one ball.

Another draw was won by the Ukraine national team in away friendly match against Italy. The hosts dominated and opened the score on 55 minutes. Italy in the first half we looked much stronger and often stormed the gates of the net, but in the second half our team played much more confidently and levelled the score exact impact of Malinowski in the corner.

An early victory in the League of Nations

In the League of Nations there was little hope for the success of the team Shevchenko. The Ukrainians had a poor performance in the previous qualifying tournament and failed to qualify for the final of the world Cup, finishing third in the group. Moreover, Ukrainians were expecting strong rivals in the League of Nations: the Czechs and Slovaks.

Before the game against the Czechs on the road, many experts and fans have agreed in opinion that the Czech Republic and Ukraine are equal rivals. In the starting lineup the Ukrainian team for the first time in nine years there was not a single player of “Dynamo”. Already in the fourth minute we conceded a quick goal. Team Shevchenko controlled the ball and equalized the score at the end of the first half. Ukrainians are more than 20 times, broke through on goal, including 9 times on target. In the last minute of the match the Ukrainians showed character and snatched victory with the score 2:1.

Match with Slovaks again found a severe problem with the implementation of the moments. The Ukrainians controlled the ball and struck 9 shots on goal team Slovakia. Early in the second half the Slovaks seized the initiative. The pace of the game has been steadily falling as the number of the threat posed by players Shevchenko. The only goal scored was from a penalty kick, which was converted by Andriy Yarmolenko. Both teams lacked sharpness in attack. Ukraine was visibly afraid to take risks.

Ukrainians to early to win the group, had only not to lose to the Czechs. Our team going forward, and thanks to a powerful shot from 28 meters Ruslan Malinovsky won.

Wards Shevchenko ahead of secured first place in group 1 of division B of the League of Nations. Our team was the first team which had secured a place in the elite division and will meet with the strongest teams in Europe.

Early exit from the group has enabled Andriy Shevchenko in the game with Slovakia to experiment with composition, giving the opportunity to young players who rarely went out on the football field. The result of the change of tactics became slurred game and a lot of mistakes. Ukraine for the first time since 2006, the year conceded four goals in an official match. Early in the second half, the Ukrainians have won back one ball. Yevhen Konoplyanka’s goal against Slovakia was among the five best goals of Matchday UEFA. In the end the team four times removed the ball from his own goal – 4:1.

Team wins three wins and nine points gets to the elite division where they will play in 2020. The national team of Ukraine received an additional chance in the qualifying tournament for Euro 2020. If Andriy Shevchenko in 2019 will not be able to qualify in the classical format, she will go to an additional qualifying tournament. Yet among the potential contenders of Ukrainians Sweden, Denmark and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The last match this year was against Turkey. Both teams have already wrapped up the League of Nations, so this friendly match were formal. Shevchenko was once again made some adjustments in the team. In the match came from 7 players who can still play for the youth team. The team started brightly at the start of the exchanged points. Our team successfully attacked and almost all the attacks ended in shots but for scoring a goal lacked accuracy. In the first half, our team looked interesting and played good football. In the second half wards of Shevchenko mostly defended, and the Turks played more actively. The result is natural – a goalless draw.

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