Euro 2024: Ukraine showing ‘spirit’ of country – coach

COLOGNE, GermanyUkraine manager Sergiy Rebrov said his players “showed the spirit” of the country after they defeated Slovakia 2-1 in Dusseldorf on Friday.

The victory keeps Ukraine’s hopes afloat of making the knockout stages of Euro 2024 after they lost their opener against Romania 3-0. Second-half goals from Mykola Shaparenko and substitute Roman Yaremchuk secured the three points for Rebrov’s team, and he was delighted by the spirit his team showed.

“This is not a different team,” Rebrov said afterwards. “There was different spirit — I am pleased for the players — they showed the spirit of Ukraine and deserved this win. It was important to win for our country, our fighters, our supporters.”

Rebrov said there was no shouting at half-time, as his team went into the break 1-0 down after Ivan Schranz scored in the 17th minute.

“I didn’t shout [at half-time]. We had to react in the second half,” Rebrov said. “We weren’t pressing high enough. We understood this was our chance and that’s what I said. I said ‘don’t worry about the score and just go for it.'”

He was also full of praise for goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin who replaced Andriy Lunin.

“I’m pleased we have good competition among the goalkeepers,” Rebrov said. “Anatoliy [Trubin] deserved to play after his performance [in a 0-0 draw] against Germany [on June 3]. He was very calm and he could have started before this game.”

Slovakia are still in with a good chance of qualifying having beaten Belgium 1-0 in the first round and next up they face Romania on Wednesday in Frankfurt.

“We had the opportunity [today] but we knew we had to win against a team who had to win at all costs,” Slovakia manager Francesco Calzona said. “We are the Cinderella story of the group stage — the fact we’re still competing at Matchday 3 is significant. We try to play football against anyone, regardless of the opposition, and I’m proud of that. We’ll do everything in our power to beat Romania.

They will wait on the fitness of defender Dávid Hancko who was forced off with a groin injury in the second half.

“If I were a doctor I’d tell you [if he will be fit or not] — it’s almost impossible to know, I don’t think the medical staff know at this stage. We’ll have a look at him tomorrow and see what the issue is.”