Blokhin: England will be nervous against Ukraine & we have nothing to lose

The Soviet legend did his best to switch the spotlight onto Roy Hodgson's side ahead of their Group D encounter, admitting that no one expects his side to progress
Oleg Blokhin has attempted to shift the pressure away from his Ukraine side and onto their final opponents in the Euro 2012 group stage, England.

 Michael Yokhin
 Ukraine Expert
These are pure mind games by Blokhin. After the first game against Sweden, expectations were sky high, but then France proved Ukraine are still very far from a world-class team, and the coach tries to play the underdog card.
This is even more logical, as fellow co-hosts Poland and the biggest rivals Russia were knocked out at the group stage, so Ukraine can't do worse than them.
However, Blokhin knows only too well that this is his once in a lifetime opportunity, and there is no doubt that going out will be considered a failure. Not a huge failure, perhaps, but failure nevertheless.
The two nations approach the Group D game knowing that a win would see either side into the quarter-finals, but the 59-year-old insists that the pressure on the Three Lions to win is far greater than that on the co-hosts, which could lead to pre-match nerves.

"There will be big problems for them, but it's not the same for us," Blokhin told reporters at a press conference. "The England team will be more nervous. We have nothing to lose.

"We should consider England as leaders in the European Championship. They also have problems because if they lose tonight it will be unexpected.

"They are one of the favourites and are expected to play in the final. Nobody expects that we will fly to the moon.

"It would be fantastic [to win], but that's another thing. The fans should expect good play, but we shouldn't say to our nation 'we'll win the Euros', and they shouldn't shoot at us if we lose."

Ukraine and England kick off at 20:45CET on Monday.