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Ukraine Forced To Include Their Assistant Coach In Squad For The 7-1 Thrashing Against France



Oleksandr Shovkovskiy Ukraine
Ukraine were forced to select 45-year-old assistant coach Oleksandr Shovkovskiy in their squad for the 7-1 thrashing against France after Covid-19 tore through the team.

Three goalkeepers selected in Ukraine’s squad tested positive for coronavirus, including Andriy Pyatov, Andriy Lunin and Yuriy Pankiv, with Georgiy Bushchan the only available stopper..

With a need for a goalkeeper to sit on the substitutes bench, Ukraine enlisted the services of ex-Dynamo Kiev keeper Shovkovskiy, who retired in 2016 after a distinguished career that included 92 caps for his nation between 1994 and 2012.

“Oleksandr Shovkovskiy ended his professional career as a player in December 2016, but keeps himself in good physical shape, constantly conducting individual training,” a statement from Ukraine’s FA read.

“The coaching staff of the national team of Ukraine emphasises that it does not consider Oleksandr Shovkovskiy as a mandatory participant in today’s match.”

It was also mentioned that Shovkovskiy would only play if Bushchan was incapacitated because of the virus or injury during the match.

However, Shovkovskiy wasn’t needed during the France match as the unusual preparation saw the Ukrainians belted by a six-goal margin at the Stade de France on Wednesday.

Olivier Giroud passed Michel Platini as France’s second-highest scorer with a brace in his 100th cap for Les Bleus, while Eduardo Camavinga became the nation’s second-youngest scorer.

Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Corentin Tolisso also got on the scoresheet during the rout.

In addition to Vitalii Mykolenko scoring a own goal for France, Viktor Tsigankov scored Ukraine’s only goal just after the half-time break.

Several other positive Covid-19 tests affected the match with Ukraine midfielder Taras Stepanenko not making the trip to Paris, while France defender Leo Dubois was sent home after being diagnosed with the illness.

After being thrashed by France, it doesn’t get any easier for Ukraine as they host Germany and Spain in the Nations League over the next week.

France also have a tough set of fixtures in the Nations League, as they welcome Portugal to Paris, before facing Croatia in Zagreb before the international break ends.

Didier Deschamps’ side is yet to lose in 2020 with victories against Sweden (1-0) and Croatia (4-2) before the Ukraine rout.

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