The draw for the European Championship 2020 has ended in Romania. One of the participants in the ceremony was the ex-football player of London “Arsenal” and the Russian national team Andrei Arshavin. And he didn’t miss. With a confident movement of his hand, he sent the Wales team to Group A. In turn, Finland, the debutant of major tournaments, got into the neighboring quartet, where they will fight with Russia, Denmark and Belgium. The only thing that Stanislav Cherchesov’s team was clearly not lucky with was the calendar of upcoming meetings. The meeting with the current leaders of the FIFA rating, the Belgians, will await our team in the first match at the Gazprom-Arena, and in the last match – the unyielding Scandinavians at the overcrowded Parken stadium in Copenhagen. True, who you really cannot envy is the teams from Group F. In the last quartet there will be a real massacre. There, where the world and European champions meet in face-to-face confrontations – it cannot be otherwise. The weekly Football summed up the results of the Romanian draw, which brought unpleasant surprises, including to the hosts of the ceremony.
Among the main characters who were to decide the fate of the teams that qualified for the final stage of the upcoming European Championship was the ex-player of Zenit and Arsenal London, Andrei Arshavin, well known to Russian fans.
After completing his football career, he became a sports expert on television, and this autumn evening he was invited to another important ceremony. Much was not required from Andrey, from time to time he just inserted the names of the groups and the symbolic ordinal position of the teams in these quartets on the air.
Arshavin coped with it and at least a little pleased the fans of the national team, which had previously gotten into rivals in Group B, not the most pleasant teams represented by the leader of the FIFA world ranking Belgium and the Scandinavians who are always inconvenient for us, this time the Danes.
When Andrei pulled the ball with the envelope of the Wales national team, many silently crossed themselves so that the Welsh, led by Real Madrid midfielder Gareth Bale, did not go to play in St. Petersburg. This did not happen, the wording “A3” is perhaps the most reassuring words that have been spoken that evening.
The fact is that due to the expansion of the total number of participants in the decisive stage of the tournament (including as many as twelve host countries), the composition of Group B, in which Russia was to play, was already formed by three quarters. The ceremony in the building of the Romeexpo exhibition center in Bucharest, therefore, did little to decide for these teams.
Finland or Wales. Some of these teams had to completely determine the composition of the quartet. Debutants of major tournaments or semi-finalist of EURO 2016. The Suomi national team, headed by head coach Markku Kanerva, clearly looked like a more profitable draw.
And it was the Finns who went to Group B, where they will face the Russian team in the second match at the Gazprom-Arena stadium. For our northern neighbors – a three-hour train ride to St. Petersburg. For Russia, it is an opportunity to get hold of important three points after the opening match with the Belgians, in which even a draw will be akin to a victory for Stanislav Cherchesov’s team.
True, the fact that Russia will play the last and most likely decisive match in the fight for second place with the Danes on the road in Copenhagen is not the best tournament alignment for us.
The Russians will play their first two matches in St. Petersburg against Belgium (June 13) and Finland (June 17). And in five days our team will have a difficult flight to Denmark, where a warm welcome will await our players in Copenhagen on the overcrowded Parken of forty thousand.
And the fact that after the first two matches the team of Stanislav Cherchesov is unlikely to secure a way out of the group, will not add confidence to the fans in the successful outcome of the confrontation in the Scandinavian capital.
As a result, we get that, on the one hand, Finland has become our rival. However, on the other hand, according to the schedule, for our team the third match at the home arena against the Belgians who had already solved the tournament problem looked like a much better option than going to the most motivated and disciplined Danes.
Leo is unhappy
Who really hurt to look at the last Romanian autumn evening was the head coach of the German national team Joachim Lev. On the head of the 59-year-old specialist, gray hair was clearly added from the results of the draw. Through the efforts of Ruud Gullit, Marcel Desailly and other eminent football figures, three top teams at once got into Group F.
Moreover, two of which – France and Portugal – are the reigning world and European champions, respectively. The fourth team of this deadly quartet will be the winner of the additional qualifying group in the person of someone from the national teams of Hungary, Bulgaria, Iceland and Romania, which will have play-offs in the spring.
The head coach of the French, Didier Deschamps, grinned sarcastically, trying to find his companion in misfortune, Joachim Lev, in the auditorium of the expo center, but in vain. The gaze of the stone face of the German specialist during the entire hour of the ceremony never moved from a dead center, being in a state of complete trance – the Bundestim mentor seemed so focused.
In addition, Germany has clearly not yet forgotten the latest results of the national team at the Russian World Championship, when from the not most formidable group of names in the national teams of Sweden, Mexico and South Korea, the Germans could not even reach the playoffs of the tournament.
Coincidence or not, but the Latin letter of that quartet was also called the letter F. During this year, Leo made a total cleanup in the team, freeing up a place in the starting lineup for a number of the next talented generation of young men in the person of, first of all, the 24-year-old Bayern striker Serge Gnabry, or no less stellar 20-year-old Bayer’s midfielder Kai Havertz.
As a result, the German car in the renewed composition managed to fail the League of Nations, rolling back to division B. Then, in group A1, the Germans’ rivals were the already familiar French team and the Dutch team. As a result, only two points scored in four games with a goal difference of -4.
A little later, the selection for Euro 2020 took place, and already here Germany managed to defeat the Dutch in group C in a bitter struggle with 21 points, only one defeat in eight matches, but no less painful. 2: 4 at the Volksparkstadion stadium from the orange team led by Ronald Koeman. But there was an even more offensive loss from the same Dutch with a score of 0: 3, but already away.
In this regard, the unsuccessful performance at Euro 2020 will surely be the last major tournament for Joachim Loew at the head of the German national team. The leadership of the German Football Federation will not have time to renew the composition or any other reason for the next failure. Demanding Germans will only be interested in rehabilitation for the last failures of the main team.
What did not work out in Russia for the veterans led by Thomas Müller and Jerome Boateng should be corrected by all means by the next generation of football. Here the tone will be set by the newly minted stars of European football in the person of Timo Werner and Leroy Sane.
Playoffs for Ukraine?
That evening, one of the happiest people in the Romeexpo audience was the head coach of the Ukrainian national team Andriy Shevchenko. Despite the not very successful draw layouts for the rest of the teams, the 43-year-old specialist was ultimately pleased with the results of the day for his own team.
Having got into the first basket according to the results of the qualifying round, the Ukrainians managed to avoid meetings with half of the European giants represented by Italy, Spain or Belgium. But, no less intriguing were the possible options from the rest of the subgroups, where there were such teams as Portugal or France.
As a result, Andriy Shevchenko’s team got Holland, which, under the leadership of Ronald Koeman, continues to experience problems in matches with the giants (the final of the League of Nations against Portugal 0: 1, 2: 3 from Germany in the Euro qualification), Austria, which, as it turned out, may lose Away to Latvia with a score of 0: 1. The fourth member of Quartet C will be someone from the teams from Georgia, Belarus, Macedonia or Kosovo.
It is highly probable that this group will become a kind of quartet of life. The fact that in this situation, Ukraine, which won its qualifying group against the reigning European champions, the Portuguese, should proceed further, should not cause great doubts among the fans of the team.
Preferring to play even in matches with top players from themselves, Andriy Shevchenko’s team has all the ingredients for this in the form of a powerful middle line (Zinchenko, Malinovsky, Tsygankov) and experienced Yarmolenko with Konoplyanka in attack.
In the European qualifiers, the Ukrainians did not experience any serious problems, having not lost a single match in Group B and conceding only four goals, two of which were scored by the Serbs in the last meeting, which does not affect the final alignment of the qualification in any way.
And the fact that the 35-year-old goalkeeper of Shakhtar and the national team Andriy Pyatov was included in the symbolic team of the entire qualifying campaign adds to the potential advantages of the Zhovto-Blakitny one of the most stable goalkeepers in Europe.
The biggest success at major tournaments in modern Ukrainian history was reaching the quarterfinals at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. That lineup included such players as Anatoly Tymoshchuk, Dmitry Chygrynsky or Andrey Voronin. And then the current coach of the national team, Andriy Shevchenko, played in the attack.
As for the European Championships, the situation here is much worse. For the first time, the Ukrainians managed to reach the final stage only in 2012 due to the status of the host team of the tournament.
The 43-year-old can go down in history as the national team’s best player and coach. But even without these layouts, Ukraine should go through its own group and for the first time secure itself an exit to the playoff round of the European Championship. If you do not do this now, in the future such an opportunity may no longer appear.