Ukraine advances to soccer quarterfinals
Shevchenko said it was a "great victory"
The idea is to put the ball in the net, not just keep it out. Ukraine figured that out a lot quicker than Switzerland in the shootout Monday night. And the World Cup newcomers are headed to the quarterfinals because of it, according to AP.
After 120 minutes of scoreless soccer, goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovskyi didn`t have to work very hard in the shootout, either. The Swiss misses came right at him, and another shot clanged off the crossbar.
The Swiss, who did not yield a goal in the entire tournament, stood stunned at their lack of marksmanship from the penalty spot in the first shootout of the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Artem Milevskiy, Serhiy Rebrov and Oleg Gusev hit the net after Ukraine star Andriy Shevchenko`s weak, low shot was stopped by Switzerland goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbuehler.
The Ukrainians mobbed each other in a pile after the 3-0 shootout win, which put them in a match Friday against Italy at Hamburg.
Shevchenko said it was a "great victory."
"We suffered a lot and we`re happy to have won for all Ukrainians," Shevchenko said. "We do not have the greatest players, but we make up for that by making sacrifices for each other, by playing with a lot of heart."
The Ukrainian capital of Kiev erupted in celebration Tuesday, with fans spilling out of bars shouting "Ukrania!" and drivers leaning on their horns in the early morning hours.
But Ukraine, like the Swiss, was considered an outsider at the World Cup, and if Ukraine can`t find a semblance of offense in the quarterfinals, it`s unlikely to stick around.
It was a tame game, particularly in comparison to the other quarterfinals. There was only one yellow card, the calmest match in a tournament that has set a record for yellows and for ejections.
Mexican referee Benito Archundia gave the yellow to Tranquillo Barnetta in the 59th minute for a push from behind.
Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin chose to start the shootout with his top scorer, but Shevchenko`s shot was poor.
Marco Streller`s effort for Switzerland was worse — low and directly at Shovkovskyi.
And after Milevskiy scored, Barnetta hit the crossbar. Rebrov made it 2-0 and Ricardo Cabanas looked almost amateurish on his shot directly into the middle of the goal — and again, right at the Ukranian goalkeeper.
Then Gusev powered his winner into the left side of the net.
"We put in a good performance and I hope all of Switzerland is still behind us. Football is sometimes hard, but we gained a lot of experience for Euro 2008 in our own country," defender Ludovic Magnin said.
Each team came close to scoring in the first half, hitting the crossbar.
In the 21st minute, Shevchenko dived to head the ball from 8 yards. The ball bounced down to the ground and up onto the crossbar before being cleared.
Three minutes later, Switzerland`s Alexander Frei shot from 20 yards and the ball bounced off the bar.
In the 34th, Switzerland`s Johan Djourou, who started for injured defender Philippe Senderos, was himself taken off. Djourou was replaced by Stephane Grichting.
Shevchenko also got close in the 68th, chesting the ball, then dribbling to get through the Swiss defense before discharging a powerful left-footed shot from the edge of the area. It narrowly missed the right post.
In another close call, Swiss Ludovic Magnin sent a free kick onto the roof of the net in the 73rd minute.
"It`s not that we play defensive football, we played how we`ve always played," Switzerland coach Koebi Kuhn said. "But it`s also true we have high-quality young defenders, which is why we allowed no goals throughout the tournament. Of course, that doesn`t help us now."