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Sunday, 28 May, 2000, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK
For Ukraine read Dinamo Kiev
Dinamo Kiev
The Ukraine team in their day jobs for Dinamo Kiev
It's not unusual for a country to base their national team around one leading club side.

Holland have often comprised their team almost entirely of Ajax or PSV players, Germany and Bayern Munich have been almost interchangeable in the past, while Spain have often relied heavily on Barcelona or Real Madrid.

But Ukraine take this to the ultimate extreme.

Andrei Shevchenko
Shevchenko who joined AC Milan for 18m
Of the 11 players who started the second leg of their Euro 2000 play-off against Slovenia, eight were Dinamo Kiev players and the other three were Kiev old boys.

With Kiev's wily old coach Valery Lobanovsky reappointed as national coach Ukraine now have the full house.

Not that the players' familiarity helped against Slovenia who qualified as the surprise package of Euro 2000.

A bitter blow

It was a bitter blow for Ukraine who had completed their Euro 2000 campaign undefeated and had gone into the final game leading what was arguably the toughest qualifying group.

Sergei Rebrov
Spurs' new signing Sergei Rebrov
A draw against arch rivals Russia allowed France to leapfrog over Ukraine who were left to battle it out with Slovenia.

While England have a justifiable fear of penalty shoot-outs, Ukraine are now developing an Ipswich-like dread of play-offs.

It was the second major tournament in a row that they had missed out on in this way after losing to Croatia in a play-off for France 98.

Despite these near misses, there's no doubting the quality of the Ukraine side and the benefit they derive from basing their team on a Dinamo Kiev side who are now Champions League stalwarts.

It's a luxury that England have never really managed to exploit.

I think in defence it's a massive advantage if you're playing a club partnership at centre-back

Alan Hansen
The Liverpool side that was so dominant in the 70s and 80s had their fair share of Scots and Irishmen, while the current Manchester United team are drawn from all around the world.

Team England

The nearest we have come to 'team England' was when seven of the Arsenal team lined up against Italy in the 30s.

The advantages of using players who play together week in, week out are clear.

The BBC's Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen is in doubt about how helpful it can be: "I think in defence it's a massive advantage if you're playing a club partnerhsip at centre-back."

Providing Tony Adams has recovered from his back problem, England will have the option to partner Adams with Arsenal team-mate Martin Keown.

And the Manchester United quartet of the Neville brothers, Paul Scholes and David Beckham look likely to start England's first Euro 2000 match against Portugal.

If Kevin Keegan can persuade Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs to change their allegiances then England will really be in business.

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Stats for England

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See also:

29 May 00 | England
McManaman gets chance to shine
27 May 00 | England
Owen on target as England draw
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