Russia does not like the map that is silhouetted on the Ukraine shirt and protests, Greece provokes a diplomatic conflict because of the acronyms that the North Macedonia coat of arms looks like, and which are not the ones that agreed with them. When France played a World Cup match against Hungary, with the white-and-green jacket of the Kimberley de Mar del Plata, because the two teams took to the field jerseys of the same color, no quilombo was mounted, only the game was interested and not the accessories. Russia fights to qualify; Greece is not even there, and in Bucharest, as in that distant Argentine World Cup, Macedonia and Ukraine were only interested in the game, each in their own way, and not the shirts they wore.
Ukraine wanted to try to play with the elegance of their coach, Andrei Shevchenko, when he was a footballer. He was looking for depth and speed, he pressed in the middle to steal and run. Like Italy, the country of adoption of the technician, although with less quality. North Macedonia, meanwhile, played in the style of Pandev, his psychic reference, pulling opportunism, trying to win in the guerrilla war, in each set.
In this situation, the Ukraine plan triumphed, sharper than its rival and with clear ideas, with Yarmolenko and Yaremchuk committed to the cause; with Zinchenko, perhaps grayer, but a hard worker. Things worked out for them in the first half, and in a matter of a handful of minutes they put a respectable distance on the scoreboard. Yarmolenko scored first, in a corner, after being very sharp after the heel that deflected the ball. Yaremchuk increased the distance, five minutes later, after receiving a deep pass from Yarmolenko and planting himself in front of Dimitrievski to beat him near the post.
North Macedonia went into a momentary depression after the two blows, from which it only recovered after the break. Angelovski made two changes and changed the appearance of his team.
Remolona Ukraine, gave way to the Macedonians, who occupied it without complexes and added dangerous arrivals, although Malinovwsky was also able to mark more differences in a Ukrainian counterattack. The game changed definitively in the 54th minute, when a shot from Musliu deflected it to the crossbar in a great stretch. Pandev, always an opportunist, went to see what he was hunting in the rebound, and found himself with a penalty in favor. Alioski missed it, but the ball fell back to the pitcher, who hit the goal after the second.
Macedonia then squeezed with all its resources, which are limited, and closed in on the Ukrainian goal. Only when Ukraine advanced lines was a match equalized again that Shevchenko’s men were able to sentence in a penalty that the Argentine referee Rapallini pointed out, in the first visit to the VAR screen of the entire championship, after the pertinent consultation with the referee who watches over, the Spanish Hernández Hernández. And if the walk to the monitor is news, it is not so much Malinovskyi’s failure, because of the five maximum penalties thrown from the beginning, only Cristiano managed to score. With the mistake, Ukraine could not avoid the suffocation of the final siege of North Macedonia, which fell short, perhaps because it did not give it for more. His permanence in the tournament now hangs by a very fine thread.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.