Following today’s draw, the national team managers of the Group C participants gave their thoughts about the group.
Boshko Gjurovski, Macedonia’s manager gave the following statement to UEFA: ‘Spain are massive favorites in our group, there’s no doubt about it, but playing against the Furia Roja in Skopje will be a great spectacle for our supporters. Regarding the other teams in the group I think we can compete with them. Ukraine may have the biggest chance to take second place, but I wouldn’t write us off.’ In a statement given for FFM, Gjurovski said: ‘Before the draw I also said that I do not have any particular wishes. We have gotten teams which we can compete against, but I have always said we are the most important part and our approach will determine our play. At first look, the group is positive but we must not make any euphoric comments or promises. Of course we are optimistic but it is too early for any assumptions. We will try to create a team which will take responsibility and obligation to give their best each and every match. That way we can get the support from our fans and that can lead to positive results. We are positive.’
To see the complete schedule for Group C, click here.
Ilcho Gjorgjioski, FFM’s president said: ‘Although in modern football, arrogance can be counter effective, it is clear Spain are absolute favorites and each team knows that. We have gotten a group which is hopeful for us. Nowadays, everyone plays football, including teams from the last pot. Past experience taught us not to have easy approach against any team, including Luxembourg. The important thing is to create a team, stay positive and be supportive. We can complete, FFM will give full support to the manager and his players in order to make good results.’
Vicente del Bosque, Spain coach
It’s not as easy a group as it might appear to some. We are facing emerging teams who are young and strong. The cold conditions could play a role in the group because many of the trips will be to teams from the east. Ukraine may be the most dangerous of our opponents. We will go game by game and not underestimate any of our opponents. The journeys will be long and our rivals will make things uncomfortable. Here’s hoping that when we play away against Ukraine, it will be a like party again, just as it was when we won the title in Kyiv in 2012. They are unforgettable memories.
Mykhailo Fomenko, Ukraine coach
I could not attend the draw because of illness but was following on TV. I think we should stay calm after opponents became known. Of course, Spain are clear favorites in Group C; they’re not only world and European champions but also world football leaders. Also we have clear underdogs in our group as well. All other teams are more or less equal, but that doesn’t mean we can have a different approach for those matches. We should be fully motivated for every opponents, as we were during World Cup qualification.
Ján Kozák, Slovakia coach
I wanted to play against different opponents, not Spain and Ukraine. But Spain, in particular, will be the biggest magnet for our fans. When compared to previous qualifying groups, this is for sure made up of the toughest teams. It will be harder to be successful.
Georgi Kondratiev, Belarus coach
It could have been better, it could have been worse. We will take it as it is. The only thing we can do is to fight in every match; then everything will be OK. You can’t say that we are lucky or unlucky. Spain are clear favorites; though I didn’t want to play the teams we faced in our last qualifying campaign, I am not upset that we were drawn against them again. Ukraine are very strong and a good side. Slovakia and Macedonia are the dark horses. Luxembourg we had some bad games against in the past but that does not worry me. We have to respect all the other teams and take the pitch every time like it will be the last time. Then we will not have such setback as in the past. I believe in our success. The most important thing is that the players also believe. Then we will get it right.
Luc Holtz, Luxembourg coach
The two games against the three-time European champions are obviously going to be very special for us. Life is never a picnic and the same applies to these draws. On the other hand, we will play against some teams who we have beaten in the past, so we will have to wait and see what we can accomplish this time around. I will not make a prediction or set a goal of how many points I want us to collect in this group. It’s more important for us to keep developing as a team. If that’s the case, then I’m confident that we will manage to pick up points.