DONETSK: Having created the sensation of the first Euro 2012 matchday by inspiring Ukraine to victory over Sweden, Andriy Shevchenko now turns his thoughts to tomorrow’s opponents France.
The 35-year-old Dynamo Kiev striker rolled back the years to give the co-hosts a 2-1 win over Sweden on Monday, his headed second-half brace sending a wave of jubilation sweeping across the co-host nation.
As well as taking his international goal tally to 48, Shevchenko’s match-winning intervention at Dynamo’s Olympic Stadium also gave Ukraine control of Group D, as France and England drew their opening encounter 1-1.
The quarter-finals are therefore already within sight – Ukraine will reach the last eight tomorrow if they beat France in Donetsk, regardless of the result between England and Sweden in Kiev.
However, having doggedly battled knee and back problems in order to prove his fitness for his swansong international tournament, the former AC Milan and Chelsea striker does not want to look too far ahead.
“It’s a great day for Ukraine, but we still have two matches to prepare for,” he warned after the win against Sweden.
“Of course we’re happy, but we know that we still have two very hard matches against France and England.”
Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin says he could change his team for the game with France, having admitted to concerns over the nervousness displayed by his side in the closing stages against Sweden.
“We still made tactical mistakes and we did not have enough time to prepare,” he said. “We can still play better. Now we have three points, and we will alter things tactically for the matches to come.” — AFP
- Domenech rates ‘Les Bleus’ among the Euro favourites
- Don’t count Ukraine out, says Shevchenko
- Shevchenko kicks off Ukraine party
- Real top scorer sets sights on finishing line in title chase
- Dynamo Kiev want to extend Shevchenko contract