EURO 2024: False start for Ukraine: “Just apologize to everyone”

EURO 2024: False start for Ukraine: “Just apologize to everyone”

EURO 2024 false start for Ukraine: “Just apologize to everyone”

Romania clearly defeated weak Ukrainians in their first group match. Photo

© Daniel Karmann/dpa

The Ukrainians are experiencing an emotional start to the European Championship. Mudryk & Co. want to at least briefly distract their compatriots in a positive way at home. This fails. After the 0:3 defeat against Romania, clear words are spoken.

As the Ukrainian fans tried to comfort their footballers, star striker Mychaylo Mudryk was still sitting on the pitch, completely perplexed and disappointed.

The 100 million Euro striker from Chelsea FC seemed unable to comprehend the bitter false start to the European Championship with the 0:3 (0:1) defeat against Romania. Teammate Olexander Zinchenko described what he felt at that moment on Monday evening in front of his own supporters in the Munich Arena: “It is embarrassing to look into the eyes of the fans who came to see us. It is a disgrace.”

The selection from the war-torn country had already been given an immeasurable extra weight: They were not only supposed to play football, but also distract the people back home in Ukraine from the unbelievable suffering they have already experienced as a result of more than two years of Russian war of aggression. Shortly before kick-off, players reported how much of a psychological burden the situation was. “We have been dealing with this mental pressure for more than two years, and yet we are here, we understand it,” said coach Serhiy Rebrov.

Inconsolable Real goalkeeper

It was a bitter defeat against a Romanian team that was by no means outstanding in terms of play but was more fortunate in the final stages. The fact that Real Madrid goalkeeper Andrij Lunin, who had made some outstanding saves in the Champions League this season, was partly responsible for the defeat with two mistakes did not make things any better. “I just want to apologize to everyone. Because that was my mistake and that’s where it all started,” said Lunin, who is usually a reserve goalkeeper in Spain, about his first mistake and the consequences.

Romania’s captain Nicolae Stanciu (29th minute), Razvan Marin (53rd) and Denis Dragus (57th) scored the goals in front of 61,591 spectators. Romania celebrated only the second victory in its European Championship history and took a step towards the round of 16.

Coach demands: try to block out war

Ukraine, on the other hand, is now under immense pressure in sporting terms. After the defeat, coach Rebrow asked his players to at least try to forget about the war. “We have to forget what’s happening at home,” said the former star striker. At the press conference, he said that his players sent him out of the dressing room to discuss the defeat among themselves.

Before kick-off, the professionals, who all came onto the field wearing Ukrainian flags, had asked their supporters for forgiveness as they went into the stands. “We represent a great nation. The players know that,” said Rebrow. “And today we were not good enough. That is why the players apologize.”

The saddest man on the pitch was Lunin. First, he set up the first goal with a bad pass, and then he let Marin’s shot slip through for the second goal. Dragus’ 3:0 was the early end to the game against a disorientated Ukrainian team. The English newspaper “Daily Mail” wrote of a “horror show” for Lunin.

Romanians ecstatic after “historic victory”

In front of the eyes of legendary striker and association boss Andriy Shevchenko, nothing worked in attack either. Mudryk showed signs of his class, but was far too rarely put in the spotlight by his teammate. Ukraine was even denied a consolation goal when Roman Yaremchuk hit the crossbar shortly before the final whistle.

The Romanians, on the other hand, seemed to be unable to believe their luck. After the final whistle, several players were still crying on the field, while tens of thousands of fans loudly celebrated their football heroes. “It was unbelievable what the people gave us. I’ve never experienced anything like that,” reported coach Edward Iordanescu. “This is a historic victory for Romania.”




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