Ukraine's first UEFA European Under-19 Championship victory was a triumph of team spirit, although captain Kyrylo Petrov was a towering presence as the hosts marched to glory on home soil.
Pushed forward from centre-back to fill the holding midfield role, the FC Dynamo Kyiv player was as frustrated as the rest of his team-mates in the goalless draw against Slovenia on Matchday 1, but showed his versatility against England three days later. Petrov supplied an assured finish to a slick Ukraine move with less than two minutes played and then powerfully headed a 61st-minute equaliser after England had turned the game around. He then produced a dominant display in the heart of midfield as Switzerland were overcome to secure a place in the last four.
Like his team, Petrov was improving with every game and produced his best performance to date in the 3-1 win against Serbia in the last four, successfully stifling the hitherto impressive Adem Ljajić. Denys Garmash captured the headlines with two sublime finishes to take Ukraine into the final, but Petrov's shackling of the Serbian playmaker laid the foundation for victory. The captain issued a rallying call on the eve of the rematch against England, saying: "We expect the stadium to be full on the day and we'll be doing our best not to disappoint the fans; we play for them. Lifting the trophy would be the greatest moment of my career to date."
Petrov was not to be disappointed, more than 25,000 fans turning out to see Garmash open the scoring with another excellent finish five minutes into the final. Once again, Petrov provided the security in midfield that allowed Ukraine's more adventurous players to thrive, holding in check England's Henri Lansbury – who had found the net in his three previous games – and laying the platform for the hosts to press forward and secure the trophy five minutes into the second period thanks to Dmytro Korkishko's fine free-kick. Job done Petrov stepped up to receive the trophy, a deserved reward for a fine fortnight for him and his team.
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