Taras Mikhalik is helping to lay the foundations for Ukraine's success at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.Rapid rise
Having trained as a builder during his teenage years in case his football career did not work out, Mikhalik is well aware of the realities of life outside of football. However, if the evidence of this season is anything to go by, the 22-year-old has plenty to look forward to in the years to come. After impressing for FC Zakarpattya Uzhgorod, he earned a winter transfer to FC Dynamo Kyiv and is set to make his UEFA Champions League debut next season.
After appearing just once in qualifying, Mikhalik has started two of Ukraine's three games in Portugal – both ending in victories as Ukraine topped Group B to earn a semi-final against Serbia and Montenegro on Thursday night. "Nothing like this has happened to me in my career," he said. "I have no words to describe how great I feel. I hope that we can go on to feel even better by winning the next match and reach the final. There are four strong teams left. I don't think that Serbia and Montenegro are weaker than France or the Netherlands. We just have to play our own game."