Soccer-Ukraine will not play for a draw against Austria, says Shevchenko


Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Ukraine Training - Stadion Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest, Romania - June 20, 2021 Ukraine players during training REUTERS/Marko Djurica

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Ukraine will not be lulled into complacency by the fact a draw in their final Group C game against Austria guarantees progress to the Euro 2020 knockouts, coach Andriy Shevchenko said on Sunday.

Ukraine are second, behind Netherlands who are already through as group winners, and Shevchenko's side will advance to the last 16 with a win or draw on Monday.

"Theoretically we can be happy with a draw but we know how difficult this game is," Shevchenko told a news conference.

"If you go into the game thinking that a draw is okay then you will never get a certain result.

"This kind of thinking can be punished a lot. All this talk that the teams can agree to have a draw together should be stopped immediately. It just isn't right.

"My team understands how important this game is and Austria is the same ... I really respect Austria. They have a certain style and they stick to it.

"They have great players, a great leader in David Alaba, several players who deserve respect. They play very aggressively and we expect a tough game."

Ukraine and Austria both have three points, with Netherlands on six, while North Macedonia have none after losing both their games. The top two in each of the six groups advance to the round of 16 along with the four best third-placed finishers.

Centre back Denys Popov, who was on the bench for Ukraine's defeat by Netherlands in their opening game but left out of the side for their 2-1 win over North Macedonia, will probably miss the Austria game with a calf injury.

"Popov has issues with his calf muscle and hasn't trained today," Shevchenko said. "I don't think there is a serious problem but he needs some time to recover."

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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