West Ham United's Andriy Yarmolenko backs Ukraine to bounce back in second UEFA Euro 2020 fixture
Andriy Yarmolenko has backed his Ukraine teammates to bounce back from the disappointment of their dramatic UEFA Euro 2020 defeat by the Netherlands when they face North Macedonia on Thursday.
The West Ham United star helped his nation recover from 2-0 down in Amsterdam, scoring the first goal with a stunning 25-yard strike into the top left-hand corner, only for a late header from Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries to break Ukrainian hearts.
With 95 caps and 41 goals for his country, Yarmolenko is one of the most-experienced members of Andriy Shevchenko’s squad and wore the captain’s armband against the Netherlands with regular skipper Andriy Pyatov only named among the substitutes.
As the group’s on-field leader, the 31-year-old has backed Ukraine to respond to their setback by defeating North Macedonia – 3-1 losers to Marko Arnautovic’s Austria in their own opening Group C fixture – and keeping their hopes of progressing to the round of 16 alive.
We will prepare, we understand that in order to leave the group, we need to win
“Of course, Sunday was a difficult match,” he told reporters. “We understood who we were playing against. We had a serious, strong opponent. All the guys did the best, the coaching staff is satisfied with the dedication. It is a pity to lose such matches in the end.
“Even at 2-0 down, we did not think about a possible defeat. We thought about how to score a goal in return, and then equalise and turn the game around. We succeeded, we scored the first goal, then the second. Of course, to some extent we lacked experience, because we have a fairly young team. A more experienced teram in such a situation would be better at managing the game at 2-2. Well, let's learn from our mistakes. This will be a good lesson for us for the future.
“I expect us to produce another performance against North Macedonia. The coaching staff will choose the right tactics, analyse the opponent and point out our mistakes. We will prepare, we understand that in order to leave the group, we need to win.”