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Wed Apr 23 16:03:27 SAST 2014

'Fans want to shoot us when Ukraine lose'

Reuters | 16 June, 2012 08:590 Comments
Ukraine soccer fans react as they watch the Group D Euro 2012 soccer match between Ukraine and France in the fan zone in Kiev, June 15, 2012
Image by: Vasily Fedosenko / REUTERS

Coach Oleg Blokhin accused fair-weather Ukraine fans of “wanting to shoot us” after they whistled his team close to the end of their Euro 2012 2-0 defeat by France in rainy Donetsk on Friday.  

The Group D match was halted for 55 minutes as a thunderstorm struck and torrential rain drenched the pitch. When it resumed, France outshone the tournament co-hosts with fast, attacking football and secured victory with goals from Jeremy Menez and Yohan Cabaye.  

“It is not fair to only support your team when they play well. You should support your team always,” Blokhin said when asked about the whistling towards the end of the match when his players failed to chase a long ball.  

“We have the impression that if we are winning everything is fine, but if we are losing our supporters want to shoot us.”  

Blokhin praised the loyalty of the Irish fans who cheered on their team throughout a painful 4-0 thrashing by world champions Spain on Thursday.  

“Whistle at me, not the team. The guys are not guilty, they tried everything they could,” Blokhin said.  

Ukraine made a bright start to the tournament with a 2-1 victory over Sweden, delighting thousands who had packed out fan zones all over the country, but that form deserted them on Friday.  

“The French are one of the best teams in world football and one of the favourites in this tournament,” said Blokhin.  

“In the box we didn’t try to clear, we just created moments for the French team. We can’t make such mistakes in our defensive line.”  

His players were feeling sad, he said, and sitting dejected in the dressing room.  

“I will not mention any names. I don’t want you to blame anyone,” he added.  

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