Despite the lack of 12 players, it was Ukraine’s first win over Spain when Andriy Shevchenko performed a miracle and in Germany the Swiss shone despite the German attacks. Who were the winners and losers?
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Winner: Viktor Tsyhankov
Tsyhankov has scored an impressive 61 goals in 156 games for Dynamo Kyiv. He is hardly the reincarnation of Andriy Shevchenko, but he is a solid striker despite the fact that he never managed to lead Ukraine to glory. His only goal against a good team was a 7-1 loss to France.
Even though he had his star moment tonight and got off the bench in the second half, he was the right man in the right place. Andriy Yarmolenko sent a nice ball behind the defense. Spain’s offside trap was exposed when Jesus Navas fell too low and Tsyhankov was 1-1 with David de Gea.
The Spanish stopper came off its line as it had done all night, but this time it didn’t do it with enough drive and that hesitation, that split second pause, gave Tsyhankov the window he needed to get the beauty of a shot bend around it in the back of the mesh. A historic goal for Ukraine that gives them a great victory and puts them on a par with Germany in the group. Tsyhankov will never be forgotten for this strike.
Verlierer: Luis Enrique
As much as Luis Enrique was a fantastic manager of the ego in Barcelona, in Spain where the ego is less but the talent is just as rare, he looks a bit redundant. You don’t have to keep this group of players in line as they are mostly still unproven and hungry. This is a group of players who need a unified tactical spirit to bring them together.
At Barcelona, Lucho kept up the good times by keeping everyone fit and focused. Here for Spain he has to start the good times over and from tonight’s evidence he doesn’t seem to have any ideas other than trusting the individual genius of his wingers (and as good as they are, Ansu Fati and Adama Traoré are no, Leo Messi and Neymar) to pull him out of the fire.
But this time there was no MSN that could save him. Spain had the whole ball but absolutely no idea what to do with it. And that is neither a good sign for Euro 2021 nor for Lucho’s future as Spanish boss.
Winner: Georgiy Buschan
While Spain were nowhere near as impressive as they should have been, they still had chances of scoring goals when they broke through the Ukrainian defense. but in their own way they found Georgiy Buschan.
Andriy Pyatov is usually in goal for Ukraine, a legendary signing that still has chances. Well tonight, Buschan, shown by the old hand, should likely go out into the pasture with a strong performance to hold a massive goal against Spain.
Loser: goalkeeper in Cologne
While Buschan excelled in one of the Group 4 games and De Gea ruined a largely good performance with another moment of weak goalkeeper, the goalkeepers in Germany did their best to make the Spaniard feel better.
Manuel Neuer has finally regained his status as the best goalkeeper in the world but tonight he was undecided and weak, unable to dominate his territory and allowing things like Switzerland’s opening goal. Not to mention how weak he was for Switzerland’s second goal, in which Remo Freuler chipped him like Leo Messi.
And then Yan Sommer was just miserable on all three German goals and seemed to misunderstand where his posts were, as he wasn’t in the right position at all or was reacting quickly enough to stop relatively tame shots into the farthest corner of the net. With at least the third goal, he could argue that the brilliance of Serge Gnabry’s improvisation caught him, but it was still a bad look.
Winner: Mario Gavranovic
Mario Gavranovic last scored two goals in a single game for Switzerland in 2012, his first two goals for his nation. He has scored six more goals since then, but never scored twice in a game again. Until today anyway.
Gavranovic was so bright and alert against Germany that he first dragged a header over Manuel Neuer from close range and later was the first to react to a loose ball in the penalty area and hit the ball up and hard into the net.
A brilliant bracket to give Switzerland a legendary draw and an invaluable point.
Loser: Tammy Abraham
How is an English striker a loser after a game between Germany and Switzerland? Well, it’s very simple: Germany fought its way back against Switzerland through the genius of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
The Chelsea duo lit up the Swiss with persistent and skillful dribbling and movement. Sure, their surfaces were soft and Yan Sommer should have saved them, but the movement and interaction was great. Werner scored Germany’s first goal (supported by Havertz), then Havertz’s second goal, and when Gnabry finally scored the second equalizer for Germany, it came after an excellent job by Werner.
The two made a good attacking unit with Gnabry, and are Tammy Abraham’s skills in any way similar to those of the Bayern man? No, Christian Pulisic does, however, and you can see that Frank Lampard prefers these three on attack given the chemistry we saw tonight. That could make Tammy Abraham jump out of luck in the bank through no fault of her own.
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