Friday 07 June 2019, 17:32

Sikan: That was the most important goal of my career

  • Danylo Sikan takes his Poland 2019 goal tally to four

  • Ukraine inch closer to their goal of lifting the trophy

  • Semi-finalists showcase depth in win over Colombia

Danylo Sikan has been one of Ukraine’s stand-out players at Poland 2019. The 18-year-old has bagged four goals in five matches and is one of the sharpest forwards in the competition, playing a pivotal role in his nation’s historic run to the semi-finals.

“We’re playing for ourselves, our families and Ukraine,” said Sikan, who dedicated his strike to the team and added that they were united by the only goal in their quarter-final win against Colombia.

The Ukrainians continue to make history in Poland; their previous best U-20 World Cup finishes were three separate runs to the Round of 16. Having now reached the semi-finals, they hope to bring their dreams of winning the tournament to life.

“What we were visualising before the competition got under way is the same thing we’re focusing on now: winning the title,” said Sikan.

Vladyslav Kucheruk of Ukraine in action against Colombia at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019

Kucheruk steps up

Ukraine were deprived of goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, ever-present in the side’s previous four games, in their fixture against Colombia. The Real Madrid talent, who spent last season on loan at Leganes, had to leave Poland after being called up to the senior squad for their upcoming UEFA EURO 2020 qualifiers.

Were there any concerns that Ukraine would lose confidence without him?

“There were no doubts," said Sikan. "We have other great goalkeepers in the squad and we knew that we could achieve our target without him, even if it was going to be difficult. Colombia play good football, but we did what we had to do defensively and in an attacking sense.”

In stepped Vladyslav Kucheruk to preserve the clean sheet, standing tall amid a flurry of late attacking moves from Los Cafeteros.

Once again Ukraine were able to combine a compact defence with clinical finishing, and the significance of the match-winning strike cannot be understated by Sikan himself.

“That was the most important goal of my career so far," he said. "Absolutely.”