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RUSOL Andriy

06 June, 2006

RUSOL Andriy from Ukraine.It is hard to believe that only it was only two years ago, while browsing one of Ukraine’s newspapers, that the young Andrey Rusol discovered he had been selected to represent his country.

Name: RUSOL Andriy

Date of birth:  16 January 1983

Height:  182 cm

Weight:  75 kg

Position:  Defender

Current Club:  Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR)

Int'l Goals:   1 (as of 6-Jun-2006)

Int'l Caps:  22 (as of 6-Jun-2006)

First Int'l Cap:  Macedonia v. Ukraine (31-Mar-2004)

Detail: It is hard to believe that only it was only two years ago, while browsing one of Ukraine’s newspapers, that the young Andrey Rusol discovered he had been selected to represent his country.

Back then, the player was still an emerging talent and yet to play outside his country’s domestic league, while today he is one of the rocks of the Ukrainian defence and among the first names on coach Oleg Blokhin’s team sheet. “When I first picked him, he was a young player unknown outside Dniepropetrovsk. I took the risk of playing him,” explains the coach, “but he has rapidly lived up to my expectations and more than justified the faith I’ve shown in him.”

Rusol played in all 12 of Ukraine’s 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ qualifiers, helping the men in blue and yellow to become the first European team to join Germany in the hat for this summer’s tournament.

Still only 23, the Dniepr Dniepopetrovsk stopper is one of the few members of the Ukrainian side not to have missed a single minute of the qualifying campaign, a statistic which testifies to the trust Blokhin has in him. Ukraine finished the preliminary competition with the best defence in their group (seven goals conceded), and the performances put in by Rusol played a large part in this impressive figure. Standing 1.86m, he nullified Turkish, Greek and Danish forwards one after the other courtesy of his impeccable aerial game and flawless positioning.

In dead-ball situations, his natural athletic qualities lend themselves to deployment in the opposition penalty area. It came as no surprise, therefore, when on 9 February in Tirana, he duly opened his international account against Albania. By planting a thumping header in the back of the net from a corner, he set his team firmly on the road to a 2-0 win and top spot in Group Two – a lead they never relinquished.

For Rusol, the team’s historic qualification was not an end in itself, but rather the start of a big adventure. “It’s a great honour to take part in a World Cup,” he acknowledges, “but we don’t intend to stop there. We are impatient to take on the other top teams and show the world just what we’re capable of."

His potential opponents include one of his role models, the English defender John Terry. "At the current time, I see him as the best defender in the world – and he plays in the same position as me.” But before this possible encounter with the Chelsea captain and his English team-mates, Ukraine must steer a successful course through a group also containing Spain, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Three games in which Rusol will have the chance to shine in front of the watching world, after having already caught the eye in Europe.


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