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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Ukraine team guide

A one-stop guide to all you need to know about Ukraine ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

Fixtures (Group H):

  • v Spain - 14 June, 1400 BST, Leipzig
  • v Saudi Arabia - 19 June, 1700 BST, Hamburg
  • v Tunisia - 23 June, 1500 BST, Berlin

    How did they get to Germany: Comfortably. Were the first European team to qualify for the finals.

    Ruslan Rotan
    Qualifying star: Ruslan Rotan had a habit of scoring vital goals, including the strike against Denmark in his side's 1-1 draw which sealed their spot in Germany for the summer.

    Manager: Oleg Blokhin, appointed in October 2003, played for the USSR 109 times and scored 39 goals.

    Captain: Andriy Shevchenko, once of Dynamo Kiev, is Ukraine's highest profile - and undoubtedly their best - player. He leads by example and will be desperate for his country to do themselves justice.

    World Cup pedigree: This will be their first appearance in the World Cup finals.

    World Cup legend: Blokhin is a Ukrainian who represented the USSR in the world Cup finals of 1982 and 1986. He is regarded as Soviet football's best-ever number 11.

    Andriy Shevchenko

    Present star man: AC Milan star Shevchenko is rated as one of the finest strikers in the world. His pace, strength, technique and clinical finishing will trouble any opponent.

    Strengths: Ukraine's attacking line-up is impressive and they could choose to re-create the partnership between Shevchenko and Serhiy Rebrov which worked superbly when the two played together at Dynamo Kiev.

    Weaknesses: Despite Rotan's goalscoring touch, midfield is a problem area and they could struggle against the heavyweights of the tournament.

    Did you know? Blokhin and Shevchenko were named European Player of the Year in 1975 and 2004 respectively. This creates some light-hearted rivalry between the coach and the player to the entertainment of the home fans.

    World ranking: 45

    Odds: 66/1

    Local view: "Ukrainians are quite optimistic about their team's chances, drawing parallels with Croatia's successful World Cup debut in 1998. Blokhin has promised a semi-final appearance."

    Our verdict: A highly-talented group of players with a superb attack, headed by Shevchenko. Likely to progress beyond their group but probably no further than the quarter-finals.

    Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.


    Pick your Ukraine XI
    30 May 06 |  Squad selectors
    Country profile: Ukraine
    02 Nov 05 |  Country profiles


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