Ukraine's football team has defeated Saudi Arabia, 4-0, at the World Cup in Germany. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer was at the Group H match Monday night in Hamburg and has a report.
After losing its World Cup debut game last week to Spain, 4-0, Ukraine turned the tide completely in its second game, overpowering Saudi Arabia by that same 4-0 score.
The Ukrainians wasted no time attacking and got the lead in the fourth minute, as Andriy Rusol knocked the ball in off a corner kick.
Ukraine got goals from three other players, including a beautiful 36th minute curling blast from Serhiy Rebrov from about 30 meters out. He said he had a feeling his team would bounce back after its poor showing against Spain.
"You know, everybody was worried before this game, of course me as well, because of the (2-2) game Tunisia played against Saudi Arabia," said Serhiy Rebrov. "Saudi Arabia played very well. I saw this game and they did very well. And of course we were worried a little bit. But after the first goal, the game was open and we could score more and more goals."
The third Ukraine goal came in the first minute of the second half from star international forward Andriy Shevchenko, who is one of Rebrov's best friends. But Rebrov said he was glad other teammates will also get credit for the convincing victory over Saudi Arabia.
"Lots of people in the world know solely Shevchenko from Ukraine and today, I think everybody showed a very nice performance and everybody showed that Ukraine is not only Shevchenko," he said.
With the 4-0 win, Ukraine put itself back in the running for a berth in the World Cups second round from Group H. Spain leads the group with six points and clinched a place in the second round with a second half 3-1 comeback win over Tunisia in Stuttgart. Ukraine has three points and the
Saudis and Tunisia each have one point, so all three are still alive for the one other qualifying place from the group in the second round.
The Ukrainians play Tunisia in their final first-round game on Friday while Spain will play Saudi Arabia.