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June 11, 2012
• 2:45 PM
• NSK Olimpijs'kyj, Kyiv (Kiev)
Referee: C. Çakιr
• Attendance: 64290
A. Shevchenko 55', 61'
Z. Ibrahimović 52'
Kris Voakes gives us his final thoughts from Kiev: “There's a good old party on the pitch, and there will be a number in the streets of Kiev tonight without a doubt. No surprises about the announcement of the official man of the match. He was wearing the No.7 for Ukraine.”
Ukraine go to the top of Group D after a double from Andriy Shevchenko sends not only Kiev, but the whole country wild, as they open the tournament with a much needed victory.
FULL TIME! Ukraine 2-1 Sweden
90' + 3'
90' + 3'
Mellberg finds himself as the furthest player forward, as he gets to a cross from the right, but he can only direct the ball onto the roof of the net.
90' + 1'
The Swedish side are very unhappy as their hosts are doing everything in their power to waste time and run the clock out to claim all three points.
Elmander just missed what can only be described as a sitter after he was put in on goal by Ibrahimović , instead of finding the net he found the stand behind the goal.
Sweden have now turned to launching the ball long as they go in search of an equaliser, with the Ukraine defence looking really shaky.
Mellberg finds himself in the striker position for Sweden and tries to get on the end of a cross from Wilhelmsson, but the ball just evades the centre half.
Nazarenko tries his luck with a free kick from nearly 25 yards from goal, but he can't get enough curl on the ball to put it by Isaksson in the Sweden goal.
Yellow Card Rasmus Elm
Goal.com’s Kris Voakes inside the Olympic Stadium: “There's an amazing reception as Milevskiy replaces Shevchenko. What a storybook occasion for the veteran skipper. Now this is what dreams are like, Mr. Hamren!”
Substitute Christian Wilhelmsson is next to try his lucj for the Swedes with a strike from the edge of the area, that the keeper gets down well to smother.
Finally Sweden are pushing forward with more vigour, as Martin Olsson races into the box, but this time Pyatov is a safe pair of hands.
Suddenly Ibrahimović is back with us, as he unleashes a strike from the edge of the area, that Pyatov fumbles and the Swedish striker eventually gives away a foul as he tries to finish off the rebound.
Quarter of an hour left and there looks little chance of Sweden even snatching a point, as they have failed to trouble the Ukraine defence for the majority of the second half.
Johan Elmander has come on for Sweden and one of the first things he does is to give away a foul, barging into the back of Nazarenko.
Kris Voakes: “Great anticipation now on the part of the home crowd, with less than 20 minutes separating them from footballing heaven. Fans are toying with jewellery, checking their watches and generally trying to make the minutes go faster.”
Konoplyanka comes off the left wing to have a strike from the edge of the box for Ukraine, but unfortunately for the midfielder, his chance goes well wide.
Our Ukraine expert Michael Yokhin expresses his delight: “This is more than a dream come true. I think this is the moment when Shevchenko surpasses his coach Blokhin as the greatest Ukrainian player of all time.”
Sweden boss Erik Hamrén is starting to ring the changes as he looks for a way back into this game, but so far his side have delivered little.
Ukraine are continuing to pile on the pressure, while Ibrahimović looks an isolated figure for Sweden, more willing to get into scraps with the opposition rather than using his talents to help his side.
Kris Voakes in Kiev: “Ukrainian football has never known a moment like this. There are old men crying near me as the 55,000 or so home fans go crazy after Sheva's second. If he was a hero before, he's a god now. Sheva, Sheva, Sheva" Come on!! Join in... it's really infectious!”
Goal Andriy Shevchenko
GOAL! Ukraine don't have to wait any longer to take the lead, as the hero of Kiev, Shevchenko gets his head to the corner at the near post and fires home a bullet of a header.
Assist Yevhen Konoplyanka
Voronin almost helps put Ukraine into the lead as he turns Olaf Mellberg, but his cross is deflected out for a corner.
That's the game well and trully on, as finally the Ukraine fans are in full voice, as they side are now starting to find gaps in the Swedish defence.
Kris Voakes: “Hello noise!! This place is rocking now as Shevchenko levels it up. The chants of 'Ukraine, Ukraine' are louder than ever after that fabulous header. It's great to see the delight on the fans' faces. Big name striker 1, Big name striker 1. Game on.”
Assist Andriy Yarmolenko
Goal Andriy Shevchenko
GOAL! Whatever Ibrahimović can do, Shevchenko can do also as he gets his head to a cross from the right by Yarmolenko to set the home fans wild and level the game up.
Kris Voakes: “Screams of agony from Ukrainians all around as Zlatan Ibrahimovic opens the scoring, The Sweden end goes bonkers, naturally.”
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
GOAL! Ibrahimović, who else, put Sweden into the lead as he taps home from close in after a cross from the left by Källström set up the big striker.
Assist Kim Källström
Great chance for Rosenberg to put the Swedes ahead as he gets the ball on the right of the penalty area, but as he strikes Yevhen Selin dives in and manages to clear the ball away.
Shevchenko gets the ball on the right hand side and crosses for Andriy Voronin, who battles his way through defenders and tries to overhead kick the ball to a player in yellow, but Sweden gain control and clear the danger.
Ukraine get the second half underway, looking to turn their possession advantage into goals.
It's half time in the battle of the big name strikers, with both Shevchenko and Ibrahimović having chances to open the scoring, but neither have been able to do so far, will one of them open the scoring in the second half, let us know.
Our Ukrainian man Michael Yokhin also gives his views: “Yarmolenko is playing very smart football, going central many times and opening the right wing for Gusev, for whom it is a natural position. Olsson is having real trouble covering both of them, and Ukraine attacks from the right look very dangerous weapon for the second half as well.”
Swedish expert Svend Frandsen on the first half: “Erik Hamréns gameplan was based on that the Swedes would dominate possession but it was the hosts who grabbed the initiative from the beginning and they could easily have been in the lead after the first 45 minutes. The Swedish rearguard looked incredibly slow against the Ukrainian wingers and when Sweden finally did manage to get the hold of the ball, they seemed so affected by the occasion that it was quickly lost again.”
Kris Voakes: “The Swedish subs finally give in and have a kick about just as the sprinklers drench half of the pitch. The attendance has been announced as 64,290.”
HALF TIME Ukraine 0-0 Sweden. The co-hosts had the majority of the play, with over 65% of possession, but they have failed to get a behind the Sweden defence, whilst the visitors have had some good chances on the break.
The atmosphere inside the stadium has completely died from the red host frenzy that it started as, as the Ukrainians have failed to find a way past the stubborn Sweden defence, despite having the majority of the ball.
Kris Voakes: “A mad couple of minutes as the game really opens up. First, the Ukrainians were on their feet as Shevchenko and Yarmolenko both had shots blocked, but they were immediately reminded of the danger Sweden can cause as Ibra's header came off the post. The fans are certainly buoyed by what they've seen so far. Although Konoplyanka's poor volley gets a Ukraine fan near me kicking a drink cup in disgust.”
Great ball from the right wing by Oleg Husyev, into the path of Yevhen Konoplyanka at the back post, but his strike is woeful and ends up on the track behind the goal.
Kris Voakes: “Erik Hamren breaks into an old man jog as he passes on a message to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Oleg Blokhin, meanwhile, has his hands on his hips as he shouts instructions to his defenders. It's not a look that's easy to pull off, especially in that tracksuit.”
Ibrahimović then went up the other end of the park and luckily for the home side, the AC Milan striker's shot cannoned off of the right hand post and out for a goal kick.
Should have been a goal for the hosts, as firstly Shevchenko and then Yarmolenko could have found the net, but Sweden cleared for a corner.
Both keepers show their frailties within a space of a minute, as the pair of them decide to palm away shots, rather than attempt to catch the ball.
Goal.com’s Sweden expert Svend Frandsen: “Swedes are in problems whenever the hosts combine quickly along the ground. Hamréns men look far from cool and collected. They can only be happy that Ukraine so far has lacked the final pass to expose their frailties.”
Pyatov looks to give the home fans nightmares as he fumbles an easy strike from inside the box, will he be the weak link for the co-hosts in the tournament?
Serhiy Nazarenko puts in what can only be described as a poor free kick from the left wing, with all of the big men for Ukraine forward, the only thing he can do is put it into the keeper's arms.
Ukraine still absolutely dominating the possession stats, but still the co-hosts can't find the opener that would set the stadium alight.
Kris Voakes: “With Shevchenko's miss comes a little bit of heartbreak for the home fans. They were out of their seats and ready to go bonkers then. They're certainly buoyed by the opening though.”
The whole of Ukraine gasps in unison as Shevchenko gets the ball on the right hand side of the box, with just the keeper to beat, but the striking legend can only screw the ball wide of the right hand post.
Kris Voakes: “Neither side will be adding Mr.Cakir's name to their Christmas card list so far. His propensity to allow niggles to go and let the game unfold has irked both sets of fans at various points.”
Both sides are starting to open up a bit more now, but neither of the teams can find the final ball to open up the opposition defence.
Andriy Yarmolenko looked like he was going to create some, but instead the winger ran into a cul-de-sac of defenders and eventually lost possession, which annoyed the home support.
Kris Voakes in Kiev tell us the atmosphere is getting bad: “Oh no, here comes the Mexican wave... and I thought this game was shaping up pretty well to begin with!”
Ibrahimović shows his quality for Ukraine as he crosses from the left wing and Andriy Pyatov gets two fists to the ball in the Ukraine goal and eventually the home defence somehow manage to clear the danger.
Kris Voakes: “Oleg Blokhin was not a happpy man when that free-kick went Sweden's way, and he marched across the entire technical area to tell the referee as much... and it's a big technical area! “Kim Kallstrom's booking brings a cheer like Kiev may never have heard. What will happen if they score?!”
Ukraine are holding the possesion advantage so far, having nearly 70% of the ball, but they have failed to break down the Swedish defence so far.
Yellow Card Kim Källström
Sebastian Larsson plays a long free kick, looking for Ibrahimović, but the ball from the Sunderland midfielder is too long for his striker to get to.
The game hasn't really gotten into full stride, as both sides feel each other out in a humid stadium.
Kris Voakes in Kiev: “That first shot from Konoplyanka, well wide though it was, had the Ukrainians on their feet. Not Oleg Blokhin though... he's still hidden under the roof of the home team's bench.”
Zlatan Ibrahimović and Andriy Shevchenko have both failed to get into the game, in the battle of the big name strikers, who do you think will come out on top, let us know in the chat box.
Yevhen Konoplyanka tries the first shot of the game from almost 35 yards out, but there was no danger of the ball going anywhere near Andreas Isaksson's goal.
Ukraine have started brightly, looking to get as many players as possible a touch of the ball in order to get them settled into the game.
Kris Voakes: “An absolute cacophony of noise greets the end of the Ukraine anthem, while it's interesting to note on a style point that Erik Hamren is in a suit. The Sweden coach said yesterday he'd wear a tracksuit if he wanted, whatever reception that got, but it's Oleg Blokhin who has gone all casual for the night.”
Sweden get the first half underway in Kiev.
One former AC Milan striker meets a current one, as Andriy Shevchenko captains Ukraine, while Zlatan Ibrahimović skippers the Swedes.
That's the anthems done, the crowd is fired up, with the group favourites playing out a 1-1 draw, there is everything to play for both sides.
Both sides are waiting inside the tunnel, with Ukraine in all yellow with a blue trim, while Sweden are decked out in dark blue with a yellow sash going down from right to left.
Kris Voakes now tell us about the second opening ceremony: “The moment you've all been waiting for.... Yes, it's the pre-match ceremony. (Don't laugh) Lots of yellow dresses on display as some lovely ladies run in seemingly random directions. From what I can make out from the booming PA system, it is some representation of the 'hero city of Kiev', as it is known in Ukraine. “Ooh, and now there's blue silk being held aloft... it's all going on here. “Actually, I mock, but there is some spectacular co-ordination on show here. Superb stuff really.”
Kris Voakes lets us know about the atmosphere inside the ground: “As the stadium gradually fills there's more yellow in here than in a Coldplay song. The two teams retreat back to the dressing rooms, and the anticipation is raised a notch once more. They could lift the lid off this place come kick-off.”
Goal.com’s Ukraine expert says of the starting line-up: “Andrey Shevchenko rather surprisingly included in the starting line-up instead of Devych. Apart from the emotional aspect for the veteran striker, who gets his wish to star in the first fixture for his country in the tournament on home soil, it means Blokhin is going for finesse instead of power.”
Just over 15 minutes until kick-off, let us know what you think the final score will be by using the chat box on the right hand side of the page.
Goal.com’s Kris Voakes in Kiev: “The one thing with finals tournaments these days is that with 12 substitutes for each side, the pre-match warm-up becomes a rather cluttered affair. The Swedish starters are currently playing a small sided two-touch game, while the substitutes seem not to know what to do with themselves really. To my right, the Ukrainians are having shots at goal from just outside the area. I've not seen a single one go in yet!”
Sweden currently sit in 17th place in the latest FIFA rankings, while their opponents today Ukraine are joint 52nd with Romania, behind the likes of Gabon, Montenegro and Armenia.
The two sides last met in August last year, when an injury time strike by Tobias Hysen helped Sweden claim a friendly victory.
Erik Hamrén’s side have won seven of their last nine games, losing to both Denmark and England last November.
Unsurprisingly, AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the country’s top scorer in the group stages, claiming five goals on their route to the Euro 2012 tournament.
The Swedes qualified for the tournament as the best runners-up, having claimed second place in Group E, behind The Netherlands, after winning eight of their ten group fixtures.
Ukraine will be looking to become the first host side to win their opening fixture after Poland became the eighth side to fail to claim victory in their tournament opener.
Ukraine have two players with over 100 caps in their starting line-up, with Bayern Munich’s Anatoliy Tymoshchuk on 116, while Andriy Shevchenko has 108 and is the country’s top scorer with 46 goals.
Oleg Blokhin’s side lost their last two games away to both Austria and Turkey before the start of the tournament, after having won five of their previous six fixtures.
This is co-hosts Ukraine’s first competitive fixture since November 2009, when a goal from Dimitrios Salpingidis saw Greece advance to the World Cup in South Africa, after a single goal victory in the playoffs.
The Sweden line-up is as follows: (4-2-3-1): Isaksson; Lustig, Mellberg, Granqvist, Martin Olsson; Elm, Källström; Larsson, Ibrahimović, Toivonen; Rosenberg.
The Ukraine side is as follows: (4-4-2) Pyatov; Husyev, Khacheridi, Mykhalik, Selin; Timoschchuk, Nazarenko, Konoplyanka; Yarmolenko; Shevchenko, Voronin
The team news is in!
The co-hosts Ukraine will help finish off the opening round of fixtures in the tournament, as they open up their campaign in Kiev against Sweden.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com’s live text commentary of the Euro 2012 Group D fixture between Ukraine and Sweden, my name is Matthew Harold and I will be guiding you through the 90 minutes of play.
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