Saudi Coach Expects Ukraine Onslaught

HAMBURG, Germany -- Saudi Arabia coach Marcos Paqueta expected to face an aggressive Ukraine team anxious to wipe away the memory of their humiliating 4-0 loss to Spain last week when they meet in their Group H match on Monday in Hamburg.

Brazilian Marcos Paqueta (L), the coach of Saudi Arabia

But Paqueta said at a news conference on Sunday that the pressure on Ukraine to prove their lopsided defeat in Munich was an aberration could play into his team's hands.

"The situation obliges Ukraine to go out and open up the field to try to get a result," Paqueta said when asked if he was concerned about a team with their backs to the wall -- as Ghana and the U.S. demonstrated on Saturday.

"They will try to get as many goals as they can to reduce the goal deficit they have," Paqueta added.

"This can be dangerous as well. They will be playing under tension. We will try to profit from this situation."

Paqueta was optimistic about his team's chance of reaching the knockout round after their 2-2 draw against Tunisia in their opening match. He said they have accomplished their first goal of wiping out the trauma of their 8-0 loss to Germany in 2002.

"Our big target was to prepare the players for the mission to erase the trauma of 2002 and we've done that before even starting the tournament," he said.

"Now we are looking forward to our dream of qualifying for the second round."


Paqueta said that he has a plan to stop Ukraine's striker Andriy Shevchenko, a former European Footballer of the Year.

"The best thing for us will be that the ball never reaches Shevchenko," Paqueta said. "This is important for us, to mark him and try to close down key players. One of them is Shevchenko."

Paqueta said he did not worry that his team would let up after their draw against Tunisia, which was celebrated almost as if they had won.

"I think my team will be improving their performance," he said. "We do have a great chance to qualify for the next round and go further than many people think."

Source: Reuters


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