Olexiy Mykhaylychenko's "tactical decision" to bring on goalkeeper Olexandr Rybka, 18, for the shoot-out helped Ukraine reach a first final at any level.
Olexiy Mykhaylychenko's tactical decision to bring on the 18-year-old goalkeeper Olexandr Rybka for the penalty shoot-out helped Ukraine see off Serbia and Montenegro 5-4 on spot-kicks after a goalless 120 minutes in Aveiro. However, the coach said it was ultimately "character and the willingness to play until the final whistle" that took his side through to a first final at any level. Despite the manner of defeat, and bemoaning a lack of luck, opposing coach Dragomir Okuka still suggested the "future is bright".
Olexiy Mykhaylychenko, Ukraine coach
I think it was quite a cagey game because the stakes were so high. Serbia and Montenegro had a very big advantage having had an extra day's rest. The level is so high at this tournament that even one minute's extra rest is very important and that is why we could not play our best football over the whole 90 then 120 minutes. The players were also nervous because they were so close to the final. We didn't have the energy we needed at times but we showed a lot of character which allowed us to achieve this great result.
I would like to thank all of my players and also all our supporters who have given us excellent backing from the first minute. We had to start somewhere, with this being our first Under-21 tournament. I think Artem Milevskiy has the time to get back for the final, it is just a back strain. It was a strategy to change goalkeepers because Rybka is better at penalty shoot-outs than Andriy Pyatov. Either team could have gone through - it boiled down to character and the willingness to play until the final whistle.
Dragomir Okuka, Serbia and Montenegro coach
First of all, I would like to congratulate Ukraine on reaching the final. But then I would like to say that I am sad but not disappointed that we didn't manage to get further in the competition. My players showed huge will to win but in the end we didn't have the necessary luck. Tonight's match showed that we had a problem up front - we needed Mirko Vučinić and Danko Lazović. I am sure that we don't need to worry about the future as this performance revealed that we are on the right track. I think the luckier team won tonight. We were well prepared for the tournament and tonight we showed that we had all the required elements except for Vučinić who wasn't here to help his team-mates achieve their goal. I am really happy with everything else about our performance.