Ukraine – France. Oleksandr Petrakov, l’après Andriy Shevchenko. Sport

The passage of Andriy Shevchenko at the head of the Ukrainian selection ended abruptly, one evening in July 2021. Ukraine, drastically beaten by England, future finalist, ends its Euro with mixed feelings.

Last team of the sixteen qualified for the round of 16 – in its capacity as 4th best third in the group – Zbirna will simply have gained the upper hand over the Macedonian little thumb during the group stage (2-1), before s’ impose miraculously in the round of 16, in the 121st minute against a Sweden reduced to ten.

The former Ballon d’Or 2004 then left Ukraine, leaving to his successor Oleksandr Petrakov the task of catching up with a phase of qualifying for the World Cup not very well embarked.

World champion with the U20s in 2019

The new coach knows the scale of the task ahead, as ex-Milan striker Shevchenko leaves behind three draws (1-1 each time) in the first three days. I will do my best to take the team to the World Cup in Qatar.

In his first appearance as a coach, the 64-year-old saw his team concede another disappointing draw against Kazakhstan (2-2) in the dying seconds. One of his first strong choices, that of calling young Danylo Sikan (20), could have paid off as the young striker from Shakhtar Donetsk scored his first goal after ten minutes on the pitch, before the Kazakh equalization.

Sikan, like left-back Viktor Korniienko, was part of the epic in Poland in 2019, during which the young Ukrainians became U20 world champions under the leadership of Oleksandr Petrakov.

Petrakov, in 2019, alongside young Shakhtar defender Valeriy Bondar, holding the U20 World Cup trophy. © AFP

While former international Serhiy Rebrov’s job seemed to be promised, Oleksandr Petrakov emerged as a backup choice when Rebrov finally signed up for UAE club Al-Ain over the summer.

Passed by the selection of many youth teams since 2011, from U16 to U20, the arrival of this coach without real experience surprised, without knowing the duration of his lease. He comes to help us, maybe for 5 games, maybe for 55, explains the President of the Ukrainian Federation, Andriy Pavelko.

In addition to his ambition to rejuvenate the workforce, which came naturally in view of his knowledge of young national profiles, Petrakov is starting a new cycle without Marlos (33), a major offensive player who has announced his international retirement after the Euro. Junior scorer Moraes (34), still with a knee injury, is also one less offensive solution for this first post-Shevchenko rally.

READ ALSO. French team. What is Ukraine, the next opponent of the Blues, really worth?



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