Football: Shevchenko: We must improve on our pool of players


ROME: Ukraine boss Andriy Shevchenko tipped England as likely finalists following his side’s 4-0 quarter-final loss and said that his nation would have to improve their pool of players if they are to compete on the game’s biggest stages.

The former Ukraine striker, who spent much of his career playing for AC Milan in Italy before joining English Premier League side Chelsea, said he was not too disappointed with his team’s performance, despite the drubbing.

“The English are really strong, individually and as a team as well, they have a great coach (Gareth Southgate) and they reached the semi-finals, and I can see that this team can make it to the final,” he told reporters.

“We did not deny our principles, we had good parts of the game, but there are sometimes – set pieces, for example – today we didn’t work very well at them.”

Ukraine defender Oleksandr Karavaev added: “We made a lot of mistakes, especially from set-pieces. Conceding at the beginning of both halves was especially hard to take.

“That was a big psychological blow because we were well-prepared for the game.”Four goals up just after the hour mark, England took their foot off the gas as they closed out the game.

“England played very pragmatically today, they used their strong sides, they exploited our mistakes they played very well, at a top level. They controlled the game,” Shevchenko said.

The England team boast a host of household names, while Shevchenko’s squad were mostly drawn from the Ukrainian top flight, rather than the leading five leagues in England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy.

“Until we have a domestic championship at a good level, we will get to this level less often,” the 44-year-old added. — Reuters

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