Euro 2020: Ukraine have realistic chance of making first ever knockout stage

Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine will enter the tournament with hopes of reaching the knockout stages for a first time.

Ex-legend Andriy Shevchenko is now the manager. They took four points from Portugal in qualifying to top Group B, before beating Spain last October in the Nations League. Their latest scalp came against France in March’s World Cup Qualifiers, drawing 1-1 in Paris. They will be looking for similar results to emerge from what is a relatively weak group where it would not be the biggest surprise for Shevchenko’s side to beat Austria or Netherlands and top the group.

Group C: UKRAINE, Netherlands, Austria, North Macedonia
Manager: Andriy Shevchenko
Odds (PP): 90/1
Recent Tournaments: World Cup 2018 (did not qualify), Euro 2016 (group stage).
FIFA World Ranking: 24th

Embed from Getty Images
Key Man

Ruslan Malinovskyi. The 28-year-old has thrived since his move to Atalanta in 2019. Impressive performances off the bench forced himself into the team for the second half the season, where he scored some big goals, including a late winner against Juventus to help Atalanta secure Champions League football. Capable of playing in midfield or up front as a second striker, he possesses excellent creativity and intricate passing skills, aswell as an absolute rocket of a left foot. His Group C opponents will not want to afford him space on the edge of the area.

The Squad

Ukraine were one of the last nations to announce their 26-man squad, which is dominated by Ukraine based players. 20 of the 26 play their club football in Ukraine’s top flight, with Dynamo Kyiv (10) and Shakhtar Donetsk (7) players making up over half the squad.

Shakhtar Donetsk goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov is named and should start in goal. In front of him in defence will likely be his club-mates Serhiy Kryvtsov and Mykola Matviyenko and Dynamo Kyiv full-back Oleksandr Karavaev.

Oleksandr Zinchenko is expected to line-up in midfield, despite playing left back under Guardiola at City. Shakhtar’s Taras Stepanenko will likely join him in centre midfield.

Star man Ruslan Malinovskyi could line-up in midfield or attack, eitherway he will be the link man between the two for Ukraine.

West Ham’s Andriy Yarmalenko will likely start in the attack despite very limited minutes at West Ham this season, managing just 15 goalless league appearances.

Out wide will be Dynamo Kyiv winger Viktor Tsygankov, who had an impressive season. His 12 goals and 8 assists in just 20 league games helped Dynamo to a first league title since 2016.

Spearheading the attack will be Gent striker Roman Yaremchuk, who also had a fine season, with 17 goals and 6 assists in Belgium’s Pro League.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Georgiy Bushchan (Dynamo Kyiv), Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Anatolii Trubin (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Defenders: Eduard Sobol (Club Brugge), Illia Zabarnyi (Dynamo Kyiv), Serhiy Kryvtsov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Denys Popov (Dynamo Kyiv), Oleksandr Tymchyk (Dynamo Kyiv), Vitaliy Mykolenko (Dynamo Kyiv), Oleksandr Karavaev (Dynamo Kyiv), Mykola Matviyenko (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Midfielders: Serhiy Sydorchuk (Dynamo Kyiv), Ruslan Malinovskyi (Atalanta), Mykola Shaparenko (Dynamo Kyiv), Marlos (Shakhtar Donetsk), Yevhen Makarenko (Kortrijk), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Manchester City), Viktor Tsygankov (Dynamo Kyiv), Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Oleksandr Zubkov (Ferencvaros), Heorhii Sudakov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Roman Bezus (Gent)

Forwards: Andriy Yarmolenko (West Ham), Roman Yaremchuk (Gent), Artem Besedin (Dynamo Kyiv), Artem Dovbyk (Dnipro-1)

The Author

Daragh Searing

Student and sports fanatic, aged 19. I availed of the extra time on my hands during the pandemic to get into sportswriting, something I've always had strong interest in. Man United fan but also a keen follower of Serie A & European football. Hoping to pursue a career in sportswriting, with Soccer and Rugby my areas of expertise. email: searingdaragh9@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*