Ok, so somehow we got thru the group stage and are amongst 16 best teams in the world. I know its hard to believe but it is true...
Our opponets are Switzerland, who havent lost a single game yet and are the only world cup team that havent conceded a SINGLE GOAL!!! Impressive, huh?
What makes them even a biggger favorite is that we have liturally no defenders left
- our most experienced centre back and a leader at the back was injured right before the tournament began and had to be replace with an U-21 defender Yatsenko, who havent even debuted for the main team yet.
- another leading defender (centre back). The only player who hasnt missed a single game in the qualifyers and the scorer of our first ever world cup goal will miss the next game since he picked up 2 yellow cards.
- our main right back got injured before the Saudi Arabia game and is doubtful for the Swiss game. Although Blokhin might play him unfit, since there's liturally no-one else.
- a backup centre back, who has done great in the U-21 tournamnet a month ago, but got injured before the WC began and will not feature in this tournament. There are rumours that he even left Germany prematurely to get treated in Ukraine.
- a backup right back, who had to play in the last two games since Yezersky was injured. He'll miss the 1/8 final game thru suspension (2 yellow cards).
So now we have 3 defenders left:
- the only defender (left back) and probabbly the most inconsistant from our starting eleven that is left to the coaches disposal. But his pace is something that worries me a lot. He was losing his "battles" against the Spanish and Tunisian wigners. I dont count Saudis since they hardly pushed upfront.
- backup for Fedorov as a centre back. Very old and is unable to play against pacy forwards.
- as i already said he hasnt played a single game for the national team yet and is very unlikely to play i this tournament after he made 2 crucial mistakes in the U-21 tournament final where we lost 3:0 to the Netherlands. Blokhin was never gonna play him in the tourny, but now, i guess he has no choice, or does he?
- this defensive midfielder can be brought back to play a central defender, but like Vaschuk his very old (the oldest in the team) and will bean easy pray for pacy strikers.
- This winger can be brought back to play as a right full back. He has done so in Dynamo Kyiv for some games last season. Since he is not a natural defender it could be dangerous to play him there... Also if you decide to go with Husyev, then you'd have to go with 4 defenders (with two old and slow centre defenders), since he would do a horrid job in a 3-man back.
It will be very very hard to predict what tactics/playes/line-up Blokhin will go with, but one thing for sure, our defence will be tested to the full on Monday evening.