picture: Mr. Voronin, where will Ukraine end up in this European Championship?
Andrey Voronin (41): It should definitely be better than it was in the last European Championship when we were eliminated without a point or a goal. The first goal should be to reach the round of 16. If we can do that, then anything can happen.
It’s against the Dutch in the first match – advantage or disadvantage?
The first match of the tournament is always difficult, especially against the Netherlands in Amsterdam. It’s the hardest game in our group. But even if we fail, we still have a couple of games to fix. The team must beat North Macedonia if they are to achieve anything. I think the last match against Austria will decide who will play it.
Who is the star of the Ukrainian national team?
Ruslan Malinovsky had a good year in Atalanta Bergamo. He’s the best coach in Serie A, and that means something. Oleksandr Zinchenko became a champion in England with Manchester City. Both have the most experience in Europe, and they have to take responsibility. But in general, all the players performed well and worked as a team.
Also the advantage of coach Andrei Shevchenko?
All his staff did well. Although she did not succeed in the last few matches as she did in the European Championship qualifiers, in which we won by group.
The majority of players earn their living at home. Do you see any possibility with the German League?
I don’t want to compare the Ukrainian league with the major European leagues. We are still far from that. It is difficult for many Ukrainians to gain a foothold abroad. Learn about a new language, mindset and culture. Everything is different.
How much enthusiasm for the national team of Ukraine?
I hope emerging markets can distract people from the country’s problems. But for this, the team has to play well, and then everyone in Ukraine will stand behind the players and forget their fears for a while.
One concern is the ongoing crisis between Ukraine and Russia. It is possible to hold a meeting in EM. What happens next?
First of all, the Russians and Ukrainians have to get this far. And then – what should happen on the field? It is still a soccer game where two teams are looking for victory in terms of sport. Of course there will be a lot of talk about it. But the players just have to know who is the best on the field.
How do you track EM?
I will watch the players at my father’s in Odessa. Before that I was on a short vacation in Greece. So I can start the tournament quietly.
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