Ukraine: Strategy and Tactics

<Back                                                                                      Home                                                                           Next>


Mykhaylo Fomenko was born in Mala Rybytsia, Ukraine, in 1948. Similar to Oleg Blokhin, the previous coach of the national team, Fomenko is a Ukrainian football legend. He was an integral part of the Soviet football history. Fomenko was a defender for one of the strongest teams in the Soviets, Dynamo Kyiv. He became a 3-time Soviet Top League champion and won the UEFA Winners’ Cup (now, Europa League) with his team in 1975. Although his playing career was full of achievements and accomplishments, fans know him as an almighty manager who beat Johan Cruijff’s unstoppable Barcelona in 1993, the year when Barca won the UCL and swept away everyone on their way.

Fomenko’s candidacy was met with a fair amount of skepticism but he proved them wrong, as the team finally qualified for a big European competition.

Style of Play

Yevhen Konoplyanka and Andrey Yarmolenko are two of the most dangerous wingers on the whole tournament. Their flair and agility made many defenders a fool (like Evra, Debuchy, Alba) as well as their perfect long shots. Thus, it is not surprising that the team tries to play through the wings, and when they find hard times in doing so, Seleznev is always there to offer his help in the middle of attack.

Ukraine has to play a formation with 2 wingers, but any variation of it would work for Fomenko, as he gives them freedom anyway. Thus, 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-2-1 all work for Ukraine. To be clear, Ukraine changes formations from 4-5-1 (when defending) to 4-3-2-1 (when attacking).


Both Yarmolenko and Konoplyanka are famous for cutting into the middle and shooting from a long distance. They will definitely try to use the same strategy, as both of the players are playing well together. Another option would be to cut inside and give a final through pass. The following picture shows where the two players would cut and give a through ball / make a long shot.



Although Konoplyanka and Yarmolenko are amazing when it comes to attacking, they are very weak in the defending phase. It is interesting how Konoplyanka cannot defend due to his short height and slim physicality, but Yarmolenko, who has a very fit and athletic body, does not defend because he simply doesn’t want to. He has always been one of those gifted but lazy players. None of them is good at high pressing too, but it is Fomenko’s job to teach them how to properly defend.

Another problem might be Ukrainian dependency on them. Should they get injured or have an unlucky day, Ukrainian attacking potential will rapidly tend to zero.

How to cite this page: “Ukraine: Strategy and Tactics”, Written by Alikhan Mukhamedi(2016). European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, (accessed on (date)). 

<Back                                                                                      Home                                                                           Next>