Ukraine seek improvement for Belgium decider
Friday, January 31, 2014
Yevgen Ivanyak says Ukraine need to "add something more to our game" even though they need only avoid a three-goal loss to Belgium to beat the hosts to the last eight.
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He kept a clean sheet during Ukraine's 1-0 triumph against Romania and was relatively untroubled throughout, but Yevgen Ivanyak knows his team must up their game when they face Belgium for a place in the UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 quarter-finals.
With Romania through to the last eight despite that defeat, Ukraine take on the hosts for the second qualification place from Group A in a position of superiority. While a point will suffice for them to top the section and set up a knockout date with Portugal or Russia, the Yellow-Blues can also afford anything less than a three-goal reverse against a nation who have not won a game in a continental finals since January 1996.
As healthy as Ukraine's standing is, the Lokomotiv Kharkiv keeper told UEFA.com: "We didn't play very good against Romania, many things didn't work out. We need to add something more to our game. We should play more aggressively and be more focused in defence and attack.
"We felt a high degree of responsibility during our first match; every one of us was too worried. Our nerves didn't let us to show our best quality. I hope that it will be a bit easier against Belgium from this point of view."
He expects the Red Devils to pose a different challenge to Romania. "We watched their first match from the stands. It looked as though they have many players who try more to go one-on-one against their opponents. Moreover, they don't hesitate to shoot from different positions. We should keep our heads up. Also, they have tough and tall players in their squad."
Belgium will be shorn of the man who scored their goal against Romania, Omar Rahou, because of suspension. The most pressing task for coach Alain Dopchie since that opening-day 6-1 loss, a scoreline he felt was "harsh", has been to raise morale. "The disappointment was really acute after the game against Romania," he said.
"That is logical, but I had a good discussion with the players and they are now really keen to play against Ukraine. The atmosphere in our group is really good and I hope that on Saturday we can get a good result."
If the 3,961 fans inside the Lotto Arena did not see the true potential of the Red Devils first up, a meeting with Yevhen Ryvkin's men gives a refreshed side – they played on Tuesday – an opportunity to atone in front of another sell-out crowd.
"Losing to Romania was a big disappointment, but it doesn't change anything for this game. Regardless of the result between Romania and Ukraine, we will play on Saturday with the ambition to win and to show our qualities."