Euro 2012 Preview: Ukraine vs Sweden

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Euro 2012 Preview: Ukraine vs Sweden
Kiev, Jun 11: Debutant Ukraine will aim to contain the Swedish army in their Euro 2012 Group D clash at Kiev Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

Co-hosts Ukraine last played a competitive match during the World Cup qualifiers over two years ago. Coach Oleg Blokhin has transformed the side with young domestic players mixed with star veterans Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Andriy Shevchenko.

Nearly half of Ukraine's side have recovered from a threat of food poisoning while Sweden come into this opening fixture with the backing of four straight wins.

Kiev's Olympic Stadium will witness a sea of Blue and Yellow as co-hosts Ukraine and Sweden fans don similar coloured outfits. Unlike Poland, who drew their opening fixture due the pressure and high expectation from fans, Blokhin's side may not suffer similar problems as they are not termed 'favourites' to progress.

Sweden are more dangerous upfront with talisman and captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic definite to start upfront and cause numerous problems to the home sides defence. Though Ukraine are not sort after in terms of possession, their counter-attacking abilities could hurt the Swedish back-line.

Sweden coach Erik Hamren will have to decide between Ola Toivonen or recently Johan Elmander to partner Ibrahimovic. At the heart of the defence, veteran Olof Mellberg will start along side Andrea Granqvist or Jonas Olsson with Mikael Lustig and Martin Olsson playing as full-backs.

Andriy Yarmolenko and Evhen Konoplyanka will play key roles in the middle for Ukraine's counter-attacking strategy while Sergey Nazarenko and Tymoshchuk will distribute the ball to either flanks.

Ukraine have the home support but Sweden will fancy their chances against a shaky 'Blue and Yellow' defence while Ibrahimovic is likely to be the most threatening figure in and around the box, not to forget his aerial powers and acrobatic finishes in the past.


Ukraine: Pyatov-Husyev, Khacheridi, Mykhalik, Selin-Timoschchuk, Nazarenko, Konoplyanka-Yarmolenko-Shevchenko, Voronin.

Sweden: Isaksson-Lustig, Melberg, J Olsson, M Olsson-Elm, Svensson, Kallstrom, Larsson-Toivonen-Ibrahimovic.

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