100 cap club

Shevchenko heads trio of players set to join century club

October 7, 2010
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Dynamo Kiev striker Andriy Shevchenko says that becoming the first Ukraine player to reach 100 caps "is quite a milestone" as he prepares to join the century club in the Euro 2012 co-hosts' friendly with Canada.

Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine
APAndriy Shevchenko made his Ukraine debut as an 18-year-old in 1995

Shevchenko, 34, is one of three players who will make their 100th international appearance on Friday, along with Poland captain Michal Zewlakow and Cyprus striker Yiannis Okkas who line-up against USA and Norway respectively.

And the Ukraine captain, who is already his country's record appearance maker, admitted that there have been many happy memories on the way to his century of caps.

"It is quite a milestone, even for those, like me, who are not obsessed with statistics," Shevchenko told FIFA.com. "I tend to remember only the best moments and thankfully there have been a lot over the 16 years.

"Obviously our World Cup campaign in 2006 is right up there, especially as Ukraine had lost in the play-offs in three previous qualifying campaigns. I will remember the atmosphere at that great football tournament for the rest of my life."

Shevchenko is also Ukraine's record goalscorer, having netted 45 goals for a country that has only been participating on the international stage since 1992, shortly after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and he is convinced he will still have enough to offer Yuriy Kalitvintsev's side at Euro 2012.

"Unfortunately we failed to get to the last World Cup but now we're preparing for Euro 2012 with extra desire," Shevchenko said. "Hopefully I'll be fit [for the finals] and will give all my energy and experience to help our team succeed at home. For now I miss qualifying games a bit, although we are treating the friendlies seriously and are trying to play our best."

Poland skipper Zewlakow said of his 100th cap: "On an occasion like this you would like to have a really special game - and a win. You would like to have only good memories. But I don't want to think too much about it being a special event or a great achievement. I just want it to be a happy occasion to look back on."

And Cyprus frontman Okkas, who like Shevchenko will be the first player in his country's history to reach the century milestone, was equally honoured to reach the impressive mark.

"It is a very special moment for me personally," Okkas said. "It's a great honour to become the first Cypriot international to reach 100 caps, but as far as the game goes it doesn't change anything for me. We all have a job to do against Norway."