Happiness vs Sadness. Relief vs Disbelief. Triumph vs Defeat.
Both teams were heavily matched who relied on their midfield strength to win the ball for a swift counterattack anchored on each team’s strikers. As such was the story of Switzerland – Ukraine match that saw them scoring not a single goal in 90 minutes of play.
Hats-off to both teams as they displayed commitment and passion in protecting their positions that we can’t possibly tell which one is better; so fitting to end the game on free kicks decided upon by the skill and power of goalies which saw Ukraine’s Oleksandr Shovkovskyi not conceding a goal in 90 minutes and saving two more in penalties.
Oleksandr Shovkovskyi was under fire after giving up 4 goals against Spain in their opener but never saw the ball hit the back of the net again against 4-0 on Saudi Arabia, 1-0 on Tunisia and a goalless match against Switzerland. Celebration is due to Oleksandr and the entire newcomer Ukraine whom everyone dismissed to be dead even before the tournament started.
The triumphant goalie, winner of Budweiser Man of the Match, has this to say:
You canâ€™t prepare for penalty shoot-outs. I try not to get too worked up about it. I donâ€™t think about it too much, I just stand there and completely clear my head. Sometimes you have to stop asking questions and just play. The emotion of the occasion can overpower you to begin with, but I managed to stay really focused right until the end. When the Swiss missed their third penalty, I knew that we would be through if we scored our third one.
[tags]FIFA World Cup, World Cup, FIFA World Cup 2006, Switzerland, Ukraine[/tags]