Co-hosts Ukraine come into their debut European Championship with a catalogue of injuries to contend with while the squad was hit with a mystery illness leading up to their final warm-up fixture. In goal, head coach Oleg Blokhin is down to his fourth-choice stopper while former Barcelona centre-half Dmytro Chyrgrynskiy is also ruled out. The nation is targeting a quarter-final place but that even that could prove too high a hurdle.
- France were the last hosts to win the European Championship in 1984.
- Their last 19 games show six wins, six defeats, and seven draws but only one of their last 12 matches has been drawn.
- Ukraine have conceded one goal in their last six competitive fixtures.
Swansea: A well-drilled outfit with a couple of midfielders who are good with the ball. Could cause problems to more established names if allowed to play their possession-based game on the European stage for the first time.
Any Other Business
National icon Andrei Shevchenko is unlikely to feature prominently but Ukraine’s talents lie on the wings. Andrei Yarmolenko and Oleg Gusev provide width and pace and carry most of the nations hopes. Yarmolenko in particular, has an excellent scoring record at international level.
Since being awarding the co-hosting rights to Euro 2012, Ukraine’s national side has failed to flourish with numerous head coach changes, inconsistent results while the country’s production of quality young talent appears to have stalled. Add an injury crisis and you can see why the 2/1 with Bet365 on Ukraine finishing bottom of Group D looks to have legs.