Burmese hopes of qualification in the Under-20s World Cup were dealt a shattering blow on Tuesday morning when Ukraine thrashed the White Angels 6-0 on the North Island of New Zealand.
Although Burma still have a mathematical chance of going through in third place, coach Gerd Zeise was deflated when speaking to reporters after the match.
“Obviously we only had the power for one match,” he said. “The European teams play in another league and we cannot follow. We are too blind and we do not have the experience, that’s absolutely clear.
“It was a disaster and this tournament has come too early for us. We cannot follow these teams. No chance. My team was too poor. It was just like the USA game, in the first 15-20 minutes of the second-half we gave the game away.
“We must be realists, the party is over. I must apologise to the Myanmar fans, I am responsible for this disaster, but I can’t turn a cyclist into a racing driver.”
Zeise’s defeatist attitude was perhaps exaggerated. The Burmese lads had fought well during the first half before being physically overhauled in the second. In fact, Burma saw only one clear chance on goal, when, during a drab first half, Aung Thu thrilled the hundreds of Burmese fans in the Whangarei crowd with a mazy run past three Ukrainians before his shot was deflected for a corner.
Everything imploded for the Burmese youngsters during a 25-minute spell in the second half that they will forever try to forget.
The Ukrainians began cutting through Burma’s defence and it seemed only a matter of time before they scored. When it came – a simple headed goal in 51 minutes by Yaremchuk – the floodgates opened.
Suddenly it was one-way traffic and before Burma knew what was happening they were two down, then three. Sobol added a fourth in 68 minutes, followed by an easy fifth, scored by Bieseidin but set up by Luchkeyvich who tormented the Burmese defence after coming off the substitute’s bench just after half time.
Indeed, Ukraine could have immediately scored another but Thiha Htet Aung handled on the line, earning himself a red card. Pavlo Polehenko missed the resultant spot-kick, but soon after, great work by Biesieden down the right allowed Kovalenko to double his tally for the afternoon with a simple finish for 6-0.
The Burmese youths now head to capital Wellington for what will likely be their last match against the hosts who also lost on Tuesday – 4-0 to the USA. Burma will first need to win that game by a hatful of goals, then sit back and pray that all the scorelines in other group matches go their way.