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Ukraine praise French but retain hope

Ukraine midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk conceded that the better team won after France defeated the co-hosts in Donetsk yet he believes they can do better against England on Tuesday.

Ukraine's Anatoliy Tymoshchuk competes with Samir Nasri
Ukraine's Anatoliy Tymoshchuk competes with Samir Nasri ©AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk said that the co-hosts still had plenty to play for despite going down 2-0 to France in their second Group D game in Donetsk. Tymoshchuk also paid credit to France's superior technical quality and Marco Dević concurred that the better team won on the night.

Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Ukraine midfielder
I think we should have controlled the ball more. We had some good possibilities for counterattacks [but] the French got the better of it because of their individual quality. We had good opportunities in both halves. As the coach told us, we still have to play against England. We have nothing to lose.

As I said, in the second half after two missed chances there were gaps at the back and the French were pressing hard. However, there were opportunities – we were able to get in behind their defence and had a number of potentially good moments, but could not finish them. I think in the next match we need to concentrate on getting out of our half of the pitch, creating chances and getting results. What more can I say? France have a very strong team. Perhaps we were missing something extra in defence, I don't know.

We haven't really faced such strong opponents before. The French are very technical in the way they control the ball. We did all we could in order to prevent them from getting the upper hand. I think that their skill was key, and they were able to use our mistakes to their own advantage. We need to go forward and play the next game well. [Against England] I think it's possible to get a 1-0 win. We need to play more compactly, perhaps control the ball more in defence, control all areas of the pitch and go forward on counterattacks. It's going to be a good game. England are a top team. I think it will be easier than playing against France.

Taras Mihalik, Ukraine defender
In the first half we tried to hold them but we didn't play for the draw. We played as the game let us. In the second half, when we were behind, we opened up, went forward and so conceded the second one. [At half-time] we were not told either to pressurise them or hold on for the draw. We tried to play on the counterattack.

[On facing Jérémy Ménez] I wouldn't say it was an unpleasant surprise. We know the French national team very well. They have good players, all playing at leading European clubs. There's nothing else to say. They are a good team.

Marko Dević, Ukraine forward
I think we have to wait until tomorrow to analyse the reasons for the defeat. France played better than us tonight, they passed the ball so well, while we didn't at all. They seemed even hungrier than us. I think that we just weren't able to compete with them tonight, even though we tried.

They were strong opponents, that's for sure, but we also couldn't play the game that we had all envisaged. The two goals had a massive impact on our game, we all knew it would be extremely hard to get it back as we were up against France. But we were hoping to score at least one goal, anyway. Unfortunately, we couldn't. Tonight we just couldn't create opportunities

[On England] I think our coach knows how to beat them. They are strong opponents, maybe one of the best in Europe. We have to play even better than how we played against Sweden and get the points we need to advance in the tournament.

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