Coach Mirel Albon, the man at the helm of women’s national football team of Romania, is the one who knows best the importance of the two matches to be played in Cluj
The "father" of many players of the current women’s national team members says that both matches are important, even the last one, against Greece, the team that we beat 3-1 last November in Katerini. "It’s no use to win to the Ukraine, if we don’t beat Greece, too. We need points in the runners-up ranking to avoid the concerns and difficulties of a possible playoff," Mirel Albon said.
"We have to win in Lviv"
Romania and the Ukraine went head to head in the qualifiers. The two contenders for the second place in Group 3 beat the outsiders, Albania and Greece, lost to the great favorites, France, and "neutralized" each other in the head-to-head match in Lviv on October 22 last year. The final score was 2-2 after a game in which Romania opened the scoreboard through Andreea Voicu in the 13th minute. Then, the Ukrainians took the lead through Iya Andrushchak (minute 63) and Tetyana Romanenko (minute 71). Eight minutes before the final whistle, Adina Giurgiu restored the tie. "We should have won in Lviv. However, a few mistakes cost us the victory," Mirel Albon commented.
"The Ukrainians look like an exhausted team"
The coach of the national team ignores the ranking, where Romania is three points behind the Ukraine, and is optimistic about the last two qualifiers. "We are behind the Ukraine in the group’s ranking, but we are in pole position. First of all, due to last autumn’s 2-2 in Lviv. We also have the advantage of an emerging team. As I’ve already said, experience is the Ukrainians’ strength. They participated in final tournaments even in the eight-team competition format and have players who play abroad. However, they look like an exhausted team. I hope that the impetus, shape and desire of our girls will make the difference. The qualification for EURO only depends on us," Mirel Albon added.
Without Ştefania Vătafu
Unfortunately, Mirel Albon cannot use one of the best players in the match against the Ukraine. Ştefania Vătafu is suspended for this game, but will play against Greece. Voted best player in the Romanian women’s championship in 2013 and 2014, Ştefania, 23, had an exceptional performance in the 3-0 win against Albania in Elbasan, scoring all three goals. However, she also saw a yellow card, which resulted in her suspension for the next game against the Ukraine. "It is a significant loss. Ştefania is a key player in the mechanism of the team. But we have to make it without her. I trust the other girls," says Mirel Albon.
They are our contenders for qualification
Before the match in Cluj, the women’s national football team of the Ukraine is on the 23rd position in the FIFA rankings, with 1,757 points. Our national team currently ranks 36th, with 1,593 points. The Ukraine started the qualifiers with a new coach, Volodymyr Reva. He replaced Anatolii Kutsev, who closely missed the qualification for last year’s World Cup in Canada.
The Ukraine ended the qualifying round for FIFA World Cup 2015 on the 2nd place in Group 6, after England, which was to become the great revelation of the final tournament, but ahead of national teams like Wales, Turkey, Belarus and Montenegro. As a runner-up, the Ukraine went into the qualifying playoffs, where they lost the semifinal to Italy, after 1-2 in Rieti and 2-2 in Lviv.
The best player in Volodymyr Reva’s squad is Daryna Apanaschenko. Daryna, 30, is a player of Zvezda 2005 Perm and, with five goals, ranks among the top scorers in the qualifiers. Daryna Apanaschenko, who usually wears the captain’s armband, has been capped 45 times for the Ukrainian national team, for which she scored 27 goals.