In Ukraine’s last outing against Sweden their opponents sat back and opted to counterattack, however France are more likely to play on the offensive from the start, and to control possession. Therefore, Oleg Blokhin may well field a slightly more defensive line-up than the XI who defeated Erik Hamren’s men 2-1.

Ukraine - France Preview: Co-hosts can progress with win over Blanc's side after Shevchenko's dream start

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 their 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 are 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. Reported Arsenal-bound Olivier Giroud is also an option. Laurent Koscielny also represents a slightly different approach in defence, should the coach see fit to swap things around.


  • Their opening Euro 2012 2-1 victory over Sweden was Ukraine’s first-ever win at a European Championship finals.
  • The co-hosts’ opponents, France, are one of the three sides that have 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 are 38 places behind Les Bleus in the Fifa World Ranking.
  • France allowed fellow Group D contenders England just one shot on goal in their opening Euro 2012 game.
  • The visiting side were involved in the highest-scoring match in European Championship history, a 4-5 defeat to Yugoslavia in 1960.

By John Sammers