Euro 2012 teams

Team Profile: Ukraine

A look back at the key points of Ukraine's history in the Euros

Mark Lomas

Andriy Shevchenko is Ukraine's all-time leading scorer with 46 goals.

Overall record at finals: Played 0, Won 0, Drawn 0, Lost 0

Best performance: Never previously qualified

European Championship high: Being selected by UEFA to co-host Euro 2012 with neighbor Poland.

European Championship low: Missing out on qualification for Euro 2000 after finishing one point behind reigning world champion France. Ukraine was then beaten by Slovenia in the playoffs.

European Championship legend: Andriy Shevchenko. Ukraine's all-time leading scorer is unsurprisingly also its all-time top scorer in European Championship qualifying. He has scored nine of his 46 goals international goals while trying to help his country reach the tournament.

The story so far: Since first competing as an independent football nation in 1992, Ukraine has fallen short of qualification on each of its four attempts. A Euro 2000 playoff defeat to Slovenia is the closest it has come. However, the country made some significant contributions to the continental achievements of the unified Soviet Union: Dynamo Kiev stalwart Yuriy Voynov marshaled the Soviets' midfield in their 1960 triumph; Ukrainian-born Eduard Mudrik played at the heart of the Russian defense in the 1964 final defeat to Spain and Anatoliy Konkov scored the winning goal against Hungary in the 1972 semifinal. Euro '88 brought the most notable Ukrainian influence, though. Legendary Dynamo Kiev boss Valeriy Lobanovskyi led a Soviet Union squad containing 11 players from his club team to the final, and seven of them started the 2-0 defeat to Netherlands.

Qualification: After qualifying as tournament hosts, Ukraine has undergone a rigorous schedule of friendly matches. With just five wins in 18 games, it has hardly been an ideal buildup to its European Championship bow. Defeats to Brazil, Italy, France, Sweden, Uruguay and the Czech Republic suggest the hosts' chances of mixing it with the bigger teams are limited, and a loss to Israel in February was viewed as disaster. Nonetheless, coach Oleh Blokhin has retained an air of optimism: "Our job is to win the European Championship, but we should remember that there are at least ten other very strong contenders."


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