Ukraine talisman Artem Milevskiy underlined his status as one of Europe's top young talents with a match-winning display against the Netherlands last night.
With the scores tied just before half-time, Milevskiy won a penalty after his neat touch led to him being upended by Dutch No1 Kenneth Vermeer. The No10 dusted himself off, strode up to the spot and deftly chipped the ball into the centre of the net, just as Vermeer launched himself to his left. Had the goalkeeper not moved, he would have had the easiest of saves and Milevskiy would have had plenty of explaining to do.
That confidence at the most critical of moments surprised all in the ground, although as the match wore on the FC Dynamo Kyiv forward proved why he is also going to the FIFA World Cup finals. When asked by uefa.com whether his penalty was something he had tried previously, a beaming Milevskiy said: "I did it once a long time ago, when I was playing in the reserves ... and we were leading 3-0."
Despite his goal, and his assist for Ruslan Fomin's crucial second, the 21-year-old Milevskiy felt he did not have the game all his own way. "It was very hard playing against the Dutch defenders," he said. "They were physical during the whole match and never gave you a moment to relax. Of course, this is football. I am very pleased that we took our chances. We scored the goals and we won a great football match. I am very happy."
He was not the only one to be delighted. His coach Olexiy Mykhaylychenko was keen to emphasise the No10's all-round play in the 2-1 triumph. "He put in a lot of work for the team. Even though he played up front and scored a goal, he did as much good work helping out the defence." On the matter of the penalty, he revealed that his star man had not discussed his intentions. Where Milevskiy is concerned at these finals, expect the unexpected.
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