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Regretful Ukraine learn lessons in Greece

Ukraine left Greece with just a point from their Group A campaign and, Beka Vachiberadze tells UEFA.com, plenty of regrets at more than just one missed opportunity.

Ukraine's Beka Vachiberadze at the end of the Austria match
Ukraine's Beka Vachiberadze at the end of the Austria match ©Sportsfile

With 40 attempts on goal over their three matches, Ukraine certainly did not hold back at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship. Indeed, they took more shots than France, Greece and Austria, yet they still finished bottom of the pool with the most pertinent of statistics: one point, from Monday's 2-2 draw with Austria, achieved when elimination was already confirmed.

"Of course we should have won here in Greece," Beka Vachiberadze told UEFA.com. "And I don't just mean we should have won only one game either – we should have won all three of them. But we didn't win any."

The woodwork denied Ukraine twice against Austria, even though their fate had already been sealed after losing their opening two matches, against the hosts and France. Olexandr Holovko's side showed more than just pride in their final fixture, yet not even that was enough.

"Of course we came here hoping to get through the group but unfortunately we didn't make it," continued Vachiberadze, searching for an explanation that he could not find. "We had a lot of chances to get through and we really should have made it, but we haven't. Looking at all three games, we had enough chances to score, but again we didn't take them. We consider that we played very well, yet we still have to leave the tournament."

Highlights: Ukraine 2-2 Austria

His coach was able to provide some of those answers. He is convinced that his players will learn their lesson and that their disappointment in Greece should serve as a reality check.

"I would say many of these players did not reach the peak of their possibilities," Holovko told UEFA.com. "Many of my players already thought that they had achieved another level and somehow, at some stage, they stopped progressing, even for just a short period of time.

"For them, this is a very good lesson. If they want to progress, they have to improve their level of self-discipline."

Vachiberadze was self-critical enough to acknowledge that his coach's assessment was accurate. "Personally I could have played much better," he said. "I don't think I performed very well. For sure we will gain a lot of experience and it's going to be useful in future."