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Viernes, 16 de junio de 2006 - 15:51 GMT
Ucrania en el Mundial
Los técnicos de Ucrania y de España
Los entrenadores de Ucrania y España esperan ansiosos el partido.

Ukraine World Cup excitement Ukraine is about to make its long-awaited debut in the football World Cup finals, with its opening game against Spain on Wednesday. This former Soviet republic has struggled to make its mark as a top footballing nation. The country's prime minister has urged Ukrainians to support the national side.

Helen Fawkes reports from Kiev.

There's great excitement that Ukraine is about to play in its first ever World Cup finals. This country has never qualified for a major football tournament before.

It was only in the last few years that Ukraine burst onto the world stage. After the Soviet Union collapsed, some of its best players left for Russia. The two nations are footballing rivals, so many people here are taking great delight that Russia has failed to qualify for the World Cup. Ukraine's opening game kicks off at 4.00 pm local time.

Many people will be leaving work early with the government's approval. The prime minister, Yuri Yekhanurov, has said that employers should ensure that everyone is able to see the game. Thousands of people are expected to gather in the capital's main square to watch the event live on a giant screen.

It's very unlikely that Ukraine will go on to win the competition, but the country shouldn't be completely written off. Its captain is Andriy Shevchenko, one of the world's best footballers and the team coach is Oleg Blokhin, who was one of the Soviet Union's most successful players.

qualified for
clasificó para (el mundial)

burst onto the world stage
irrumpió en la escena mundial

collapsed
se desmoronó

rivals
rivales

are taking great delight
están disfrutando

approval
aprobación

ensure
asegurar

live
en directo

written off
descartado



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