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Burda reflects on Ukraine campaign

While admitting elimination was "so disappointing", Ukraine centre-back Mykyta Burda has a long-term perspective, adding: "Our experience here can't be overrated."

Ukraine defender Mykyta Burda in Gyor
Ukraine defender Mykyta Burda in Gyor ©Sportsfile

The disappointment at bowing out of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship was still raw, yet Ukraine defender Mykyta Burda was able to take a long-term view of his time in Hungary.

Oleksandr Petrakov's side went into matchday three second in Group B, level with final opponents Germany on four points. A 2-0 defeat in Gyor need not have been terminal; indeed, it looked like Ukraine would still reach the semi-finals until news came through of Serbia's 90th-minute winner against Bulgaria, leaving Burda and his team-mates to reflect on what might have been.

"It's so disappointing to be knocked out – we did all we could and hoped for a place in the semi-finals until the very last second," the centre-back told UEFA.com. "The effort was there and we can't do anything now. I have to congratulate the team of Germany, which is very strong. Tonight I was marking Davie Selke, who scored twice. He is a very good player and it's hard to compete against him."

The finals had begun on a brighter note for Ukraine and Burda, who opened the scoring against Serbia on matchday one inside the first minute and so nearly produced a repeat against Germany, thumping a first-half header against the crossbar. "We pay a lot of attention to set pieces in training," he explained. "Our defenders go into the opponents' box during set pieces trying to cause trouble. I scored a goal with a header in the first match against Serbia but was unlucky against Germany."

Mykyta Burda scored against Serbia
Mykyta Burda scored against Serbia©Sportsfile

Ukraine nevertheless finished third in Group B, claiming a place in next year's FIFA U-20 World Cup and leaving Burda with mixed feelings. "The experience we got at this tournament simply can't be overrated. The level of football here is incomparable with our local championship. The work of organisers here in Hungary was superb. I've really enjoyed everything – apart from the fact we were not able to qualify for the semis. Of course, we've reached the minimum goal and qualified for the World Cup, but to be honest we wanted more."

Burda's coach Petrakov was more upbeat, adding: "The whole tournament in Hungary was simply fantastic. I have no doubts we can benefit from the experience here. To qualify for the European Championship is a great success for Ukraine and we've managed to qualify for the World Cup, which is another step further. We have to keep working hard and I do hope the Hungarian experience will help me and my players to progress further."

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