Hometown boys look for a bright start against Scandinavian Giants
Group D: Ukraine vs. Sweden
Monday, 11 June 2012
21:45 (local time); 14:45(EST); 00:15(IST)
Olympic Stadium, Kyiv
The second host team Ukraine take the field against Sweden in the last of the first round matches in the group phase. The Olympic Stadium in Kyiv has undergone a major reconstruction and rebuilding including a new pitch which was unveiled in October 2011.
The hosts have not won this tournament since 1984 and Ukraine will try to reverse this trend. They are the lowest ranked team in the group. The next two matches are against arguably the better two teams France and England make this match the key to the fortunes of Ukraine.
Sweden is always a major fixture in all major tournament finals without being counted amongst the favourites. The team is made up of a solid group of players with some very famous stars and some workhorses who plied their trade in the different leagues of Europe. Looking into England’s problems they should be favourites to progress from this group after France. However this match against the hosts will be crucial to their chances.
Ukraine is the only debutant team in this edition of the tournament. Although, the 1988 Soviet team had a very strong Ukrainian contingent this is their first official Euro. Being hosts Ukraine did not have to qualify for the tournament and they lost their last two friendlies against Austria and Turkey both of whom have not qualified for this tournament. The manager Oleg Blokhin recently revealed that the poor form was due a chronic bout of food-poisoning which affected the whole team.
Sweden made has been a regular in this tournament since 1992 when lost in the semi-finals. In the last edition they were eliminated in the group stage by the champions Spain and Russia. Sweden qualified automatically as the best second place qualifier behind Netherlands. They scored the third most number of goals amongst the 16 qualifiers with 31 behind Netherlands and Germany. The Swedes have been impressive in the warm-up friendly matches and are still unbeaten in 2012.
Teams & Formations
Ukraine team is centred around their captain Anatoliy Tymoshchuk of Bayern Munich. He is the vital cog which makes the Ukrainian team function. Other key members in attack and defence will be Andriy Voronin of Dynamo Moscow and Oleg Husyev of Dynamo Kyiv. Oleg Blokhin will probably start with two forwards in a 4-1-3-2 formation looking for a win. Andriy Shevchenko the legendary striker should be seen as a second half substitute.
Ukraine (4-1-3-2) : Andriy Pyatov; Oleg Husyev; Yevhen Khacheridi; Taras Mykhalik; Yevhen Selin; Anatoliy Timoschchuk; Serhiy Nazarenko; Yevhen Konoplyanka; Andriy Yarmolenko; Marko Devic; Andriy Voronin
Manager: Aleg Blokhin
Sweden will look to their star Zlatan Ibrahamovic for inspirational play in the opposition penalty box. Ibrahimovic will play in the hole below the main striker giving him the flexibility of creating chances and scoring himself. Johan Elmander the first choice striker who has just returned to training after a foot fracture will probably not be in the starting line-up. Erik Hamrén will start with a 4-2-3-1 formation which will look to take control of the midfield.
Sweden (4-2-3-1) Andreas Isaksson; Mikael Lustig; Olaf Mellberg; Andreas Granqvist; Martin Olsson; Rasmus Elm; Kim Kallstrom; Sebastian Larsson; Zlatan Ibrahimovic; Ola Toivonen; Markus Rosenberg
Manager: Erik Hamrén
“Sweden as a team work very well, they’ve been together for a long time and they’re a machine that runs very smoothly”
Oleg Blokhin- Ukraine Manager
“I don’t have any problems sleeping but I dream a lot, and when I do, I dream about winning”
Erik Hamrén-Sweden Manager