On Tuesday, November 21, the match of the sixth round of qualifying for the European Under-21 Football Championship will take place in Murcia at the La Condomina stadium, in which the national teams of Ukraine and Azerbaijan will play. The starting whistle of Georgian referee Irakli Kvirikashvili will sound at 20:00 Kyiv time.
The phenomenal performances of Unai Melgosa’s phenomenal team continue and we may well end 2023 in terms of qualifying for the 2025 European Championship without losing a single point. The successes in the matches against Northern Ireland (1:0) and Luxembourg (3:0) were continued in the form of a victory over England (3:2), which could easily be considered sensational. One way or another, the current winners of the local European championship played against us.
But this was just the beginning of the journey. There are six teams in our qualifying group, so we now have to discover the last of the previously unknown opponents, after which we can already draw some organizational conclusions. And here is an interesting point – will the coaching staff give the main players the opportunity to take a breath, or will it be limited to spot rotation with subsequent substitutions in the early phase of the second half. Melgosa has already shown that, by and large, he doesn’t care how to build this process during the game, since the drawing itself is important. And he is amazing.
The same opponent that we have not yet played in this selection is the youth team of Azerbaijan. An interesting opponent, with whom we have never had head-to-head meetings at serious tournaments. We place the Valery Lobanovsky memorial in a separate category, as a tribute to the memory of the great coach. By the way, it was in that meeting in 2021 that the Millies beat us (0:1) for the only time in the short history of the relationship.
And, to be honest, not much has changed since then in terms of the balance of power and the country’s place in youth football. A strong middle team that has promising personnel and interesting players, but this has virtually no effect on the results even in qualifying. Now Azerbaijan is last in our qualifying group, but has one match less than the other teams, so there is still every chance to force a fight. But this window of opportunity may close following the results of the upcoming meeting.
Ukraine U-21: Nescheret – Vyvcharenko, Batagov, Salyuk, Roman – Rubchinsky, Brazhko, Yarmolyuk – Voloshyn, Vanat, Vyunnyk.
Azerbaijan U-21: Imanov – Akhmadov, Babaev, Huseynov, A. Rzaev-Safarov, V. Rzaev – Nasirli, Abdullaev, Veliev – Akhundzada.
Forecast for the confrontation
We believe that we need to continue our winning streak in the upcoming game. Our bet will be the position – Handicap (-1). Ukraine U-21.
November 21, Tuesday