Expect to see a different Ukrainian national team in tonight's EURO 2024 warm-up against Poland - former coach

Stepanenko and Malinovskyi
Stepanenko and Malinovskyi

Former Oleksandria and Minaj coach Volodymyr Sharan expects to see a different Ukrainian national football team show up for the game against Poland on June 7, he told NV journalist Andriy Pavlechenko.

Serhii Rebrov's team will face Poland at 9:45 p.m. in Warsaw after a difficult 0-0 draw with EURO 2024 host Germany.

Sharan spoke about how he expects the team to change up its strategy against Poland and why he believes the match will be productive for the Ukrainian side.

— The match against Germany seemed difficult. Our players did their best on the field. What line-up do you expect to see against Poland?

"I expect not only a different lineup, but the structure of the game will certainly change," Sharan said.

"I am sure that we will not play 5−4−1 in defense, but will play the 4−3−3 instead. There will definitely be changes to the line-up so that Rebrov can see who he will bring to EURO 2024. He needs to decide on the final line-up, which is why these matches are important."

—    There were no goals scored in the match with Germany. What kind of football do you expect to see against Poland? 

"I think match will be productive," said Sharan.

"You always try to keep a clean sheet against a stronger opponent, but if we play against a team equal in strength - we will see different football. This is not Germany, this is a team (Poland) at our level. We understand that Germany is one of the EURO 2024 favorites. That's why they used this tactic - I'm sure Rebrov will use the same against Belgium (at EURO 2024 - ed.), with three central defenders. We need to play more on the attack against Poland. I think that we will see goals scored and more interesting attacking football."

— If we play against Belgium as we did against Germany, then we can say that the plan for Poland will be the one we use against Romania and Slovakia at EURO 2024?

"Of course, I think so. Why am I comparing these teams like this?" Sharan said.

"I looked at Romania, I can't say that their team is stronger than Ukraine. If we play different football, the coaching staff will want to apply this strategy against Poland."

— What players should we expect to see at central defender? Mykolenko will probably miss the game, Matvienko can play on the left, and maybe Zinchenko too. Who will stand up to Robert Lewandowski, given that he needs to be blocked? 

"I think that there will still be a Zabarny-Matvienko pair," Sharan said.

"Tymchyk's case can be reviewed in the main squad, and Konoplya will come on as a substitute. There will be no Mykolenko on the left, so probably Zinchenko will have to cover or Mykhailichenko might come on."

—    Ukraine suffered two defeats against Poland in 2016 and 2020. This is an ‘uncomfortable’ opponent for our national team. So what needs to be done to defeat the Poles now?

“Score and don't miss,” Sharan said.

“Play the kind of football that everyone wants to play now. Let's use the pass to enter the attack zone in the build-up. The Poles are a strong team, they remind me of Slovakia. We have to play this kind of football. We will definitely lose if we use a different strategy. Ukraine prefers to enter the first, second, and third zones through defense, through the passes - the short, medium ones. Sudakov will definitely play in the line-up, Stepanenko may be given a rest," he said.

"It will be a different game, more attacking, more constructive, as we maintained a defensive strategy when playing against Germany.”

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