‘It was a disaster’: Myanmar’s U20 World Cup high comes crashing down

After a spirited 2-1 loss to the United States in their Under 20 World Cup opener, Myanmar were all but out on Tuesday with a 6-0 trashing from Ukraine.

Powered by automated translation

Myanmar’s Under 20 World Cup “party” came to a crashing halt on Tuesday when they were hammered 6-0 by Ukraine, with all six goals coming in the second half, prompting the Asian side’s German coach to apologise to their fans.

Myanmar, who qualified for the tournament for the first time by reaching the Asian U19 championships semi-finals on home soil last year, had given the United States a massive fright in their opening game on Saturday before eventually losing 2-1.

They managed to hold Ukraine scoreless in the first half in Whangarei, New Zealand before the Europeans scored six in the second, with Shakhtar Donetsk’s Viktor Kovalenko grabbing a double.

The scoreline could have been even worse had Pavlo Polehenko not missed a penalty after defender Thiha Htet Aung was sent off for a hand ball on the line.

“We must be realists, the party is over,” Myanmar coach Gerd Zeise told a media conference. “I must apologise to the Myanmar fans, I am responsible for this disaster, but I can’t turn a cyclist into a racing driver.”

Like many developing nations in Asia, world governing body Fifa has pumped money into the country and given more than US$1.1 million (Dh4.04m) through its Goal programme over the past five years to fund facilities and training programmes for age-group players.

Myanmar’s qualification for the tournament in New Zealand was seen as proof the money was working.

Zeise, however, suggested the tournament, despite causing an outpouring of celebrations back home, had come too early for his side.

“Obviously we only had the power for one match. The European teams play in another league and we cannot follow,” he said.

“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.”

Myanmar’s final game in the tournament is on Friday in Wellington against hosts New Zealand, who play the United States in Auckland later on Tuesday.

Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE