Mykhailo Mudryk went to the U21 European Championship with Ukraine to chew bubble gum and kick ass, but so far, all he had been able to do was chew bubble gum.
At last, today, he finally ran out of bubble gum (i.e. recovered from the muscle problem that’s been keeping him out of action), and it was time to kick some booty indeed.
Flashing some of that ridiculous quickness that we hope to see him utilize effectively more often next season, Mudryk won a penalty at the half-four mark of their quarterfinal against France, which Heorhiy Sudakov converted to equalize at 1-1. Even more impressively, just before the half Mudryk then provided a most glorious assist from deep left midfield, with his weaker foot, which Sudakov also converted (to make him the leading goalscorer of the tournament in the process as well).
Ukraine would hold on to that lead in the second half, then make sure of things with a late third goal, to win, 3-1, and set up a semifinal matchup against Spain on Wednesday.
Ryan Cherki got France’s only goal, and got some more tongues wagging in the process as well.
In the other game of the day, England scraped past Portugal, 1-0, to set up the other semifinal, where they will face Israel.
Noni Madueke and Levi Colwill both started as usual, and while Madueke was a bit more subdued than normal, he still played a key role in the game’s only goal with the secondary assist. Meanwhile, Colwill put in his usual standard of composed excellence at the back. England have yet to concede a goal in this tournament.
Chelsea new signing Diego Moreira played the last few minutes off the bench.