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Shevchenko '50-50' for crunch clash with England

Shevchenko '50-50' for crunch clash with England

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The former AC Milan forward has fluid on his left knee and is not 'in the best condition' ahead of the co-hosts' must-win meeting with Roy Hodgson's side

Ukraine team doctor Leonid Mironov has revealed that Andriy Shevchenko's chances of being fit for his country's crucial Euro 2012 Group D clash with England on Tuesday are only 50-50.

 Michael Yokhin
 Ukraine Expert

Shevchenko's possible absence is of huge psychological importance, but less so from a purely footballing point of view. Ahead of the tournament, there were serious doubts over Sheva's fitness, with Marko Devych and Artyom Milevskiy featuring in many friendlies. They are capable of filling the void if necessary. Shevchenko's class is not in doubt, but his fitness has been far from perfect for a long time. It is obvious he is desperate to take on England, especially with all those Chelsea memories playing on his mind, but it is better for him to be remembered for the goals against Sweden than to go out of the tournament with a poor performance in what could be his last appearance in the yellow shirt.

The Dynamo Kiev striker, who netted twice in the 2-1 opening-round win over Sweden, is still struggling with a knee injury and could be forced to sit out the game in Donetsk.

Shevchenko has previously insisted that he would not try to play to the detriment of the team if he was not fully fit, having come into the tournament with doubts surrounding his condition.

"There is less liquid in the joint, but he still isn't in the best condition to play," Mironov is quoted as saying by Reuters. "He will train under the supervision of doctors, but the final decision will be Shevchenko's.

"He will decide whether he will play. But at the moment his chances look 50-50."

After losing to France last time out, Ukraine go into their meeting with Roy Hodgson's men needing to win in order to guarantee themselves a place in the quarter-finals. The match will get under way at 20:45CET.

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