Ukraine Coach Says Players Should Be Ashamed Of Their World Cup Debut

LEIPZIG, Germany -- It was a historic moment for Ukraine - and one it will soon want to forget.

Gooooooal! : Spanish forward David Villa (D) celebrates after scoring a goal during the World Cup 2006 group H football match Spain vs Ukraine, at Leipzig stadium. Spain won 4-0.

The ex-Soviet republic entered the World Cup on Wednesday with an embarrassing 4-0 loss to Spain. Coach Oleh Blokhin said his players should be ashamed.

"I'm sorry for all the Ukrainian fans. I hope it will never be repeated," Blokhin said. "On some occasions we were playing like the worst team in Europe.

"The players didn't respect the advice of their coach. Sometimes we didn't even try to attack."

The heat, the referee and Spain's marksmanship proved to be a disastrous cocktail for the World Cup newcomers at Leipzig.

Ukraine had a hard enough time in the first half, conceding two goals, with an even playing field. When Vladyslav Vashchyuk was sent off at the start of the second for a challenge on Fernando Torres, it got much worse.

"I'm extremely disappointed," Blokhin said. "But to be frank this is our first ever appearance in the World Cup and of course we have to build on this experience. Now we have to try to restore the morale of the team."

He declined to say which players had failed his instructions, but said the whole team lacked will - especially the back four.

"We are going to have to completely reconstruct the defense because it didn't work at all," he said.

The Ukraine lineup seemed to sink deeper with each Spanish goal and never came close to reducing the tally. Even Andriy Shevchenko was uncharacteristically pale accomplishing little besides running offside.

"Maybe if they hadn't scored that second goal it could have been different but after the second one, everything was finished," said Shevchenko. "Everyone tried their best, I don't know what happened.

Ukraine's best chance was when Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas left his penalty box on an ill-advised excursion. Andriy Voronin was steaming toward the unguarded goal, but Spain's Pablo Ibanez caught up with him and knocked the ball out of bounds.

Second-half substitute Serhiy Rebrov said Ukraine struggled more than the Spaniards in the heat.

"They had an advantage with the weather," Rebro said. "Of course it's difficult to lose with that kind of score but it's good experience for our next games."

Ukraine is still favored to clinch second spot in Group H. It faces Saudi Arabia on June 19 and Tunisia four days later.

"We hope we will concentrate on our next two games, we have to win," Rebrov said. "But Ukraine is a strong team and we will show this in the next two games."

Source: AP