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European Championship

  • June 15, 2012
  • • 12:00 PM
  • • Donbass Arena, Donets'k
  • Referee: B. Kuipers
  • • Attendance: 48000
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Euro 2012 Preview: Ukraine - France

Oleg Blokhin's men got off to a great start by beating Sweden in their opening game, while Les Bleus need three vital points in the Group D battle after drawing with England.

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

UKRAINE

Pyatov
Husyev, Khacheridi, Mykhalyk, Selin
Tymoschchuck, Rotan
Nazarenko, Konoplyanka, Yarmolenko

Voronin
FRANCE

Lloris
Debuchy, Rami, Mexes, Evra
Cabaye, M'Vila, Malouda
Nasri, Benzema, Ribery

In Ukraine's last outing against Sweden its opponent sat back and opted to counterattack. France is more likely to play on the offensive from the start, and to control possession. Therefore, Oleg Blokhin may well field a slightly more defensive lineup than the XI which defeated Erik Hamren's men 2-1.

The main option for the Ukraine boss would be to sacrifice a striker in order to overload the midfield in an attempt to stop France from playing. Match winner from Monday night Andriy Shevchenko could be the man to make way after the 35-year-old, who has been struggling for fitness, played 80 minutes against Sweden and has also been reportedly involved in a car accident, although no injuries were sustained. Ruslan Rotan is a possible candidate to fill in as the extra man in midfield.

Laurent Blanc decided not to risk Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila in France's opening game against England, but he is likely to be back to full fitness and start in place of Alou Diarra. Apart from that, France is expected to stick with the same team that drew against Roy Hodgson's men.

However, should Laurent Blanc wish to freshen things up Hatem Ben Arfa and Marvin Martin, who netted twice against Ukraine in a friendly last year, were introduced late on against the Three Lions and offer variety going forward. Reportedly Arsenal-bound Olivier Giroud is also an option. Laurent Koscielny also represents a slightly different approach in defense, should the coach see fit to swap things around.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • The opening Euro 2012 2-1 victory over Sweden was Ukraine's first-ever win at a European Championship finals.
  • The co-host's opponent, France, is one of the three sides that has managed to win the European Championship on home soil (1984).
  • The Ukrainians have failed to beat Les Bleus in all previous meetings. There have been three draws with the French winning the other three.
  • France beat Ukraine 4-1 in a friendly in June 2011, including two goals from Marvin Martin (pictured right), and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk scoring Ukraine's only goal.
  • Blokhin's side is 38 places behind Les Bleus in the FIFA World Ranking.
  • France allowed fellow Group D contender England just one shot on goal in their opening Euro 2012 game.
  • The visiting side was involved in the highest-scoring match in European Championship history, a 4-5 defeat to Yugoslavia in 1960.

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