Ukraine - Sweden Preview: Co-hosts looking for win in first competitive fixture since 2010 World Cup qualifiers
Blokhin's side have recovered from a wave of food poisoning that took ill a large number of their squad, while the Swedes head into the tie on the back of four victories in a row
By John Stammers
Husyev, Khacheridi, Mykhalik, Selin
Timoschchuk, Nazarenko, Konoplyanka
Lustig, Melberg, Granqvist, Olsson
Elm, Svensson, Kallstrom, Larsson
Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin has confirmed that the number of his players that were taken ill with food poisoning, before their warm-up loss to Turkey, have made a full recovery in time to face their Swedish opponents.
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk and Andriy Voronin are thus likely to return to the starting line-up, while the Ukraine boss will also make several other changes all over the pitch. Star striker Andriy Shevchenko could be forced to start on the bench as he has struggled to find full fitness of late.
Sweden have a clean bill of health after Johan Elmander recovered from a foot injury to take part in training during the week. As such, Erik Hamren will have to make a decision on who to partner big-name striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic with.
Ola Toivonen scored and impressed against Serbia in their final warm-up game so expect him to get the nod over Elmander and play just behind the AC Milan forward, with Markus Rosenberg as another option on the bench, meaning the visitors would be unchanged from that 2-1 victory.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- This is Ukraine's first-ever appearance in the European Championships, making them the only debutants, with the World Cup in 2006 their only major finals.
- As co-hosts they will have the crowd behind them, but Blokhin's men have lost four of their last eight home outings.
- After Poland's 1-1 draw with Greece, none of the last eight hosts have won their opening games at the Euros.
- The Ukrainians are yet to find the back of the net in open play at a major tournament finals.
- Ukraine boss Blokhin scored against their Group D opponents in a friendly game for the Soviet Union in 1982.
- Sweden come into the clash having won their last four friendlies, and winning eight out of 10 qualifiers.
- Since their semi-final appearance when hosting the tournament in 1992, the Swedes have managed just two wins from 10 ten games.
- AC Milan forward Ibrahimovic (pictured right) has netted in his last three matches for his country.
- Hamren's men scored in all 10 games in their qualifying campaign, bagging more than one goal in eight of them.
- Each side have one victory from the previous three meetings between the two, with the other match being drawn.
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Top 3 Predictions
Ukraine 1-2 Sweden
- 18.57 %
Ukraine 0-2 Sweden
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Ukraine 0-1 Sweden
- 9.31 %
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