Soccer-Ukraine understand importance of North Macedonia clash - Shevchenko


Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Ukraine Training - Stadion Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest, Romania - June 16, 2021 Ukraine coach Andriy Shevchenko during training REUTERS/Marko Djurica

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Ukraine will not need extra motivation heading into Thursday's Euro 2020 Group C game with North Macedonia and are feeling positive despite narrowly losing their opening match against the Netherlands, head coach Andriy Shevchenko said on Wednesday.

Ukraine came back from 2-0 down against the Dutch on Sunday and looked set to earn a draw but a late goal by Denzel Dumfries left them empty-handed.

"We have complete understanding within the team. We know the tasks we have ahead of us and additional words aren't necessary. The team is getting ready mentally," Shevchenko told reporters.

"This is a really important tournament. It's not every year that we get to the group stage of the European Championship, so every player understands the importance of each match and has responsibility for their own game and the game of the team.

"So we don't need any additional words."

North Macedonia were beaten 3-1 by Austria in their first match and sit bottom of the group standings below Ukraine.

Shevchenko said the atmosphere in his team was good and they would not underestimate their opponents, who are playing their first major tournament as an independent nation.

"We know we lacked just a little bit to achieve a positive result. The reaction from the team was great. And we had many good moments and we are very positive about the game ahead," Shevchenko said.

"North Macedonia are a team that deserve respect. They have character, their own style of play and they counter-attack well.

"During the last couple of years they have had several good games where they have beaten top teams. So we have to be really careful of their counter-attacks."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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