Ukraine to put on a show and a fight

As co-hosts of the European Champions 2012 - along with Poland - the Ukraine will be expected to put on a show when the tournament kicks off this summer.

Football News: Oleg Blokhin

And why shouldn't the locals be expecting a footballing party in Kiev? Ukraine may not be considered one of the favourites to lift the trophy but you can bet manager Oleg Blokhin will have instilled a fighting spirit within his troops which could carry them further than you think. Blokhin took over last April and the former USSR forward is a no nonsense type of man.

To help christen the opening of the new Olympic Stadium - which will host the Euro 2012 final - in the Ukrainian capital, a friendly match was arranged between the Ukraine and Germany. In the weeks leading up to the match, Blokhin said: "We don't have to beat Germany now, but we have to beat them on July 1" which was in reference to the day when the Euro 2012 final takes place in the brand new arena.

Don't expect the Ukraine to just roll over for anybody.


World ranking: 58 (as of November 2011).
Manager: Oleg Blokhin.

Can they win it?

You can't beat the experience of competitive games, so it is hard to gauge just where the Ukraine sit on the current scale of European football given that they have not had to get through the qualifying rounds. As far as their form in 'friendly' matches goes, Oleg Blokhin's side can look back at a 3-3 draw with Germany earlier in the month with some pride.

The football they played against the Germans, who are one of the real hot favourites to win the competition, was quick and they look like they can pose a problem for any team with their swift counter attacking moves.

Andriy Shevchenko remains the country's most successful player but at 35 years of age, he won't be able to carry the load on his own.

Key to Ukraine's chances at Euro 2012 will be the form of youngster Andriy Yarmolenko. The 22-year-old is widely recognised as the best young player in Ukraine right now and has six goals in 16 international appearances.

It should be noted that the Ukraine have never previously qualified for the European Championships before but don't let that fool you into thinking they won't make an impression on the tournament at least. Never underestimate the advantage of playing at home.

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