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30.05.2016, 15:40
Ukraine hope to catch the last train to Sweden 2016
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NEWS REPORT: The Ukrainian women's national team has been part of every EHF EURO event since 1994, but this year they have to fight harder than usual to qualify for the final tournament in December
 

Ukraine hope to catch the last train to Sweden 2016

Ukraine belong to those few nations that have not missed a single EHF EURO event since the first championship in 1994.

However, they are currently only ranked third in Group 2 in the Women’s EHF EURO 2016 Qualification with four points on their account. Hence in order to keep their hopes for a ticket to Sweden alive, they must not lose against Serbia on 1 June, to then set up a “winner takes it all” match against Czech Republic on 4 June to whom they lost 20:24 at home back in October last year.

For head coach Borys Petrovsky this is still a “mission possible” despite the fact that his team lost to Serbia as well as to Czech Republic in the first leg. In particular the loss against Czech Republic still hurts the team.

"It was our game, our victory," says team captain Viktoriya Borshchenko who is the only Ukrainian player participating in the Women’s EHF Champions League this season, as she plays for Rostov-Don.

"We would have won this game if hadn’t made so many unforced errors. And I’m afraid to think that it could have cost us a ticket to Sweden.”

It is not the first time that Ukraine find themselves on the edge of failing to qualify for an EHF EURO event. The road to the 2014 final tournament was equally difficult and in Ukraine needed to beat Austria by seven goals in their final game – they eventually won 33:24.

"At that time no one believed that we would accomplish this mission," said Borshchenko. “But still we did it and won by nine goals. And I hope we can do it again.

"The situation is not so tough yet as we have two games left and even if something goes wrong, we still have an option to qualify as the best third ranked team.”

Head coach Petrovsky and the 20 players he nominated have been gathering since 25 May in the Olympic training centre in Koncha Zaspa south of Kiev where they played two test matches against South Korea. However, they lost both them. The first one 19:25, the second one 19:28.

"We have to find some new solutions to have a chance against Serbia and Czech Republic," Petrovsky said. "We strengthened our right back attack position and defence with Yulia Snopova.

"But we have some problems on the left side because we cannot count right now on Anastasiya Pidpalova from French Dijon and Iryna Stelmach (the Olimpia-Beskid (Poland) player recently underwent surgery on her right shoulder).

"It’s also the versatility of Viktoriya Borshchenko that we hope will help us as we cope with the lack of a classical playmaker."

There are three names on Petrovsky’s list that did not take part in one of the previous four qualifiers: left back Olena Umanets, who currently plays in the Hungarian league for Hajdunanas, Nataliya Volovnyk, who recovered from an achilles injury and is the right wing of recently crowned Ukrainian champions Galytchanka, and also young goalkeeper Judit Balogh.

However, it seems to be certain that in absence of veteran Nataliya Parkhomenko, who is currently combining her playing career with a new coaching experience at Real Nikolaev, it will be ViktoriyaTymoshenkova  and Iryna Iablonskaya who will carry the largest burden in the matches against Serbia and Chech Republic.

The Ukrainian players nominated for Rounds 5 and 6 of the Women's EHF EURO 2016 Qualification

Goalkeepers: ViktoriyaTymoshenkova (Roman, ROU), Iryna Iablonskaya (Karpaty), Judit Balogh  (Vaci, HUN);

Field players: Viktoriya Borshchenko (Rostov-Don, RUS), Anna Redka (Gomel, BLR), Olga Nikolayenko (Budapest Bank, HUN), Olga Laiuk (Ankara, TUR), Iryna Glibko (Roman, ROU), Valeriya Zorya (Ardesen, TUR), Olga Perederiy, Yevgenia Levchenko (IUVENTA, SVK), Liliia Gorilskaya (MTK, HUN), Yuliia Snopova (Muratpasha, TUR), Elena Rudko (Spartak), Tamara Smbatyan (Olympia, POL), Anna Lezinskaya, Ivanna Myhovich (Karpaty), Natalia Savchyn, Natalia Volovnyk (Galytchanka), Elena Umanets (Hajdunanash, HUN).


TEXT: Igor Grachov / Ann Savchyk / ts
 
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