Euro 2012: Spotlight on Ukraine
- Tue 29 May 2012, 12:27PM
- Posted by Mark Booth
Co-hosts Ukraine are taking part in their first European Championships this summer.
Something of an unknown quantity, they may look like rank outsiders,but you can never rule out any team containing Andriy Shevchenko who, incidentally, will retire after the competition.
Their legendary No.7 is also the captain of the team managed by Ukraine idol, Oleg Blohkin who won 1977's Ballon d’Or in his playing days.They are likely to line up in a fairly rigid 4-4-2 with wingers Yarmolenko and Husiev providing the pace from wide.
City connection: Kyiv
The European Championships final will be played at the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv, which was also the venue for City’s 2010/11 defeat in the Europa League.
It was a match that will perhaps be best remembered for Mario Balotelli and his allergic reaction to the grass which has been immortalised in the song that regularly rings out from the stands at the Etihad Stadium.
City went down 2-0 in Kyiv and the goals from Oleg Husiev and Shevchenko were too much for City to overturn in the return at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Husiev and Shevchenko are just two of many Kyiv players to make up the squad for the tournament.
The boss: Oleg Blokhin
Blokhin is currently enjoying a second spell as manager of the Ukrainian national team after guiding them to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 2006.
Blokhin has experimented heavily in the build-up to these championships using 41 players in their 10 friendlies but he looks to have finally settled on a system and the personnel that will make his side competitive.
One to watch: Andriy Yarmolenko
The 22-year old Russian-born forward will probably start on the left-hand side for Ukraine in their first match against Sweden, but he’s equally adept at playing as the main man upfront.
Key man: A atoliy Tymoschuk
The Bayern Munich midfielder might only play a bit part for the German giants but he’s a key man in the heart of Ukraine’s midfield.
He’s an incredibly hard-working and versatile player, as showcased in the Champions League final where he was accomplished as a makeshift centre-back alongside former Blue Jerome Boateng.
Goalkeepers: Oleksandr Goryainov (FC Metalist Kharkiv), Maxym Koval (FC Dynamo Kiev), Andriy Pyatov (FC Shakhtar Donetsk).
Defenders: Bohdan Butko (Illychivets Mariupil), Olexandr Kucher (Shakhtar Donetsk), Taras Mikhalik (Dynamo Kiev), Yaroslav Rakitskiy (Shakhtar Donetsk), Yevhen Selin (Vorskla Poltava), Yevhen Khacheridi (Dynamo Kiev), Vyacheslav Shevchuk (Shakhtar Donetsk).
Midfielders: Olexandr Aliyev (Dynamo Kiev), Denys Garmash (Dynamo Kiev), Oleh Gusev (Dynamo Kiev), Yevhen Konoplyanka (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), Serhiy Nazarenko (Tavriya Simferopol), Ruslan Rotan (Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk), Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (Bayern Munich), Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kiev).
Forwards: Andriy Voronin (Dinamo Moscow), Marko Devic (Metalist Kharkiv), Artem Milevskiy (Dynamo Kiev), Yevhen Seleznyov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Andriy Shevchenko (Dynamo Kiev).
Odds via Paddy Power: 40/1
Come along and enjoy Euro 2012 at City Square, the only outdoor venue in Manchester showing the England matches. We are kicking off with England’s opening match against France on June 11, with City Square open from 2:30pm.
There will be free giveaways from the CityStore and EA, parking is free and The Summerbee Bar, Blue Moon Café and Star Bar will all be open.
Tickets are priced at £5 for adults and £3 for kids and are available now from the box office - advance purchase only.