Blokhin: Shevchenko in race to be fit to face England

The co-hosts' boss has revealed that the country's talisman has only a slim chance of featuring against the Three Lions after a reoccurring knee injury flared up against France
 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.
Ukraine captain Andriy Shevchenko has been given a 50-50 chance of playing in Tuesday’s decisive Euro 2012 Group D clash against England.

The co-hosts must defeat England in Donetsk if they are to advance to the quarter-finals but have been rocked by a knee injury suffered by the former AC Milan striker following last week’s defeat against France.

The 35-year-old missed training on Sunday with the reoccurring injury that flared up against Laurent Blanc's men, but his condition improved overnight and he took back during a session at the Metalurg Stadium on Monday.

Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin said: "It is hard to say whether Shevchenko will be fit but I would say his chances of being fit to face England are 50-50.

"There are still 24 hours to go before the game and we will do everything possible to get him fit.

"He is a big player for us and if he is unable to play it will be a big loss to us.

"But there are other players in my squad. I understand the interest in him but this press conference should not just be about Shevchenko."