Ukraine qualified for the quarter-finals of the Euro by beating Sweden (2-1) on Tuesday, June 29 in Glasgow, thanks to a header from Artem Dovbyk at the end of extra time (120e+1). In quarterfinals, Saturday in Rome, the Ukrainians will face England, which eliminated Germany (2-0) earlier Tuesday.
The Ukrainians have already played a quarter-final, but it was in the World Cup, in 2006, when Andriy Shevchenko was in peak and not in costume on the bench. This qualification is therefore an achievement, and beating England on Saturday in Rome would be another, even bigger.
In the meantime, the last of the knockout stages of the Euro was not the most exciting, far from it, and after the intensity and indecision of the two extended matches on Monday, between Spain and Croatia (5-3 after) then between Switzerland and France (3-3, 5-4 tab), Glasgow’s 120 minutes sometimes seemed very long.
It must be said that Ukraine had gone through the very small door to reach the knockout stages, third in their group with only one victory and two defeats. She therefore also attacked this meeting in Glasgow on tiptoe, Shevchenko having made careful choices of tactics and composition.
Opposite, Sweden was for its part out at the top of its group, having very willingly left the ball to its various rivals, and initially seemed to want to proceed in the same way on Tuesday. During the first 25 minutes, we will therefore politely say that the two teams have gauged each other and that the pace was not exactly stifling.
Dovbyk’s head delivers Ukraine
The two nations neutralized each other in regulation time (1-1). The Ukrainians opened the scoring by Oleksandr Zinchenko (27e), with a nice volley against the run of the game, and the inevitable Emil Forsberg equalized for Sweden (43e), with a powerful strike at the end of the first period. The Swedish striker, whose fourth goal in as many games, occasionally climbed on the podium for the top scorers, a unit of Cristiano Ronaldo, eliminated.
Before sinking again into torpor when the two teams began to fear giving in, the game saw a feverish surge of about fifteen minutes in the second half. At the 55e minute, Serhiy Sydorchuk first hit Robin Olsen’s post, imitated in the next minute and across the field by Forsberg. The Leipzig attacking midfielder, full of confidence, then shot the Ukrainian bar (69e), at a time when Sweden seemed in the best position to go into the quarterfinals.
Finally, Dovbyk, substitute, scored the victorious goal while the “Sbirna” evolved at 11 against 10 since the exclusion of Marcus Danielson (99e) for a terrible sole on Artem Besedin.