Russia Test For Ukraine U16 Boys

13 July 2008

Ukraine coach Vitaliy Cherniy is getting closer to finalizing the squad for the Termosteps U16 European Championship in Italy.

The tournament runs from August 15-24, and the Ukrainians will be in Group B with Lithuania, Hungary and Spain.

This weekend, Cherniy has taken his team to Russia for a warm-up event.

"We started the camps with 18 players and have only 14 left," he said.

"You can say they are the core of the team. We are taking 13 to Russia, where, after taking a look at how they do in serious games, we'll be able to determine the final 12 that will represent the country in Italy."

The tournament in Russia should be extremely useful for Ukraine because of the quality opposition they will face.

"Russia, the hosts of the upcoming tournament, are a very strong team," the coach said.

"They already beat us twice this summer - once, by 21, when we just got together and by three in our second tournament in Turkey.

"Turkey, by the way, have a great sense of teamwork. It seems to me that they've had this lineup for three years, adding some and dropping some players, but basically keeping the core intact.

"Another team we'll face there that doesn't need a special description is Serbia, who, along with Russia, Lithuania and Spain, are among the European Championship favorites.

"I am very pleased that the Russian Federation invited us to take part in an event of such a caliber. Playing against top teams is beneficial not only to the players, but also to the coaches ... this is the tournament where the level of intensity will be very similar to that of the European Championship."

As far as how things have gone in their workouts, Cherniy is pleased.

"We've just finished our second training camp, which, as well as the first one was designed to improve our players' stamina, quickness, strength; their tactical awareness, individual skills and teamwork," the coach said.

"Both camps were full of conditioning drills and there was just a short four-day break between them.

"This was done not to let them get out of shape and is the reason why they are quite fatigued right now, which is good because after [this weekend's] tournament in Russia we will have two more camps.

"They will allow us to correct any mistakes we'll see in Moscow Region as well as shape up our physical conditions. Therefore, I hope we'll head to the European Championship in our top form."

Cherniy knows which players will be the keys to his team's success but prefers not to single any of them out.

"We have a group of players that will play a key role on our team and most of our offenses will be run through them, but I won't mention any names as they are still in the age where doing so might cause undesired effects," he said.

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