The Ukrainian Weekly’s Matthew Dubas asked viewers on June 17 during the Euro 2020 match between Ukraine and North Macedonia shown at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey in Whippany, N.J., questions related to the team’s strengths and weaknesses, and the decision by UEFA to pull the second part of the slogan “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes!” that was featured on Ukraine’s match uniforms for the tournament. Their responses were edited and are summarized below.
Ollie Postolan, 38, Union, N.J.:
Ukraine’s national team’s major weakness is its finishing ability, no depth in attacking line, but among its strengths are its decent ball possession and passing. There have been too many turnovers from Ukraine’s previous games. Midfielders Ruslan Malinovskyi and Oleksandr Zinchenko have shown good skills, but they need to show more. Ukraine has made too many mistakes in defense.
The UEFA decision related to the Euro 2020 jerseys shows Russia’s influence on the organizers. Gazprom is a major sponsor of UEFA, and is a monopoly energy supplier to Europe. I feel that this relationship impacted UEFA’s decision.
Alex Lyszyk, 22, Bridgewater, N.J.; Eddie Becirovic, 19, Edison, N.J.; and Maxim Bukachivsky, 19, Edison, N.J.:
Ukraine’s strengths include its team unity, good quality play in passing and possession, creating scoring opportunities and moving the ball forward. The team’s depth of play last year made the team stronger. In the international friendly matches prior to the Euro 2020, Ukraine showed a lack of scoring, except against Cyprus (4-0 win). Ukraine needs to work on finishing, as many matches were low scoring, and the team showed a lack of chemistry.
UEFA’s decision was not surprising, and it was expected, but we hope that the players are not affected. We feel that Russia influenced the decision by UEFA, but at the same time UEFA maintained its consistent position of separating politics and sport. We like the jersey design with the map of Ukraine.
Greg Serheev, 51, Bedminster, N.J.:
Among Ukraine’s strengths are its fans, which provides a boost of support and morale. Wherever you go, there are Ukraine fans. The team’s weaknesses include them not playing together, not throwing themselves on the line with nothing to lose. More enthusiasm and desire needs to be shown by the team.
UEFA’s decision was swayed by Russia, and UEFA has demonstrated that it is not being consistent on the separation of politics and sport.