Two games, two wins for Ukraine at the U21 Euros now, after a narrow, last-minute 1-0 win over hosts Romania last night (Saturday).
But it’s been two games and zero minutes for our boy Mykhailo Mudryk, who made headlines by dropping down a level from the senior team to partake — far from the only player to do so among all the nations, but certainly the highest profile one — with a view towards playing himself into some sort of form ahead of the new season.
Unfortunately, it sounds like Mudryk’s manifested some sort of Proper Chelsea DNA injury (rumors say calf), one that’s evidently not bad enough to send him home but is bad enough to keep him in reserve until a break-glass emergency. (Head coach Ruslan Rotan put it down to an “overload” a few days ago, which is a rather ironic reason given this sequence of events.)
With Ukraine already assured of a spot in the knockout rounds, Mudryk’s unlikely to participate in their final group stage game either. Hopefully he will be fit enough to get some actual minutes eventually.
Rotan: ‘Mudryk and Vanat are still recovering from their injuries. We’ll see tomorrow though as anything is possible’ pic.twitter.com/pJvbrLDckW— Zorya Londonsk (@ZoryaLondonsk) June 23, 2023
Elsewhere at the U21 Euros, Spain beat Croatia, 1-0, but Georgia were once again the story of the day, coming back from 2-0 down to share the points against Belgium, 2-2. The other game in Group A saw the Netherlands held to another draw, this time against Portugal. Ian Maatsen got 10 minutes off the bench at the end.
Later on, the CONCACAF Gold Cup kicked off over in America, with the hosts taking on Jamaica and our latest signing, Dujuan Richards. Unfortunately, Richards didn’t get the nod from the head coach and stayed on the bench throughout as the Reggae Boyz were held to a 1-1 draw against a random collection of B- and C-listers for the USMNT, for whom former Chelsea trivia answer Matt Miazga started in defense. Gaga Slonina was the third goalkeeper and watched from the bench.