Ukraine and Switzerland secured their places in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round, eliminating their qualifying round Group 6 opponents Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kazakhstan in the process.
The pair laid the foundations for their successful campaigns with comfortable victories in each of their first two matches. Ukraine overcame Kazakhstan 2-0 in their opening game, and built on that with a 3-0 victory against hosts FYROM on matchday two. Meanwhile, Switzerland began their route to the elite round by defeating FYROM 3-0 and Kazakhstan 2-0 on matchdays one and two respectively.
The results from the opening two rounds of fixtures meant that Ukraine and Switzerland went into their matchday three meeting with identical records, and the subsequent 1-1 draw left the two sides needing spot kicks to determine who would progress as group winners.
Oleh Kuznetsov’s team prevailed in Strumica, winning the penalty shoot-out 5-3 after Ievgen Bokhashvili converted the decisive kick. Silvan Widmer had given Switzerland the lead midway through the first half, but saw his effort cancelled out by Ukraine substitute Mykhailo Pysko eight minutes from time.
Kuznetsov told UEFA.com: "I am glad that we managed to finish in first place and in principle we are satisfied with our performances in this tournament. As for the last match, both sides went into the game quite relaxed as we had already completed our task [of qualifying] here."
In the other matchday three fixture, FYROM defeated Kazakhstan 2-1 to claim third spot.
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