Ukraine relies on ‘attacking’ players
(AP) –Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin is relying on his young attacking players to help the European Championship co-host get out of a tough group and into the quarterfinals.
“A group of players has come along that forces us coaches to think about playing in a more attacking style. There are some very talented young players who demand an attacking style of play,”’ Blokhin said Monday on the eve of Ukraine’s May 14-25 training camp in Turkey.
Blokhin has called up a number of exciting young attacking players for his preliminary 26-man squad announced last week, including 22-year-old wingers Andriy Yarmolenko from Dynamo Kiev and Yevhen Konoplyanka from Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.
Blokhin, who is in charge of Ukraine for a second spell after taking the team to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2006, believed his team can come out of a strong group containing powerhouses England and France, as well as Sweden.
“Euro 2012 can turn out in different ways. Whichever way you look at it, Ukraine’s team has got younger and we have an essentially new team,’” he said.
Ukraine will play three warm-up matches against Estonia, Austria and Turkey before its Euro 2012 opener against Sweden in Kiev on June 11.
If Ukraine is to progress, it might have to strengthen its leaky defense.
“The situation on the defensive line has not improved,”’ Blokhin said. “It’s good that (Yaroslav) Rakitskiy and (Oleksandr) Kucher are scoring goals, but defense should be the most important thing.”
Blokhin said his main problem had been picking goalkeepers after veteran Oleksandr Shovkovskiy and Andriy Dykan were ruled out injured and Oleksandr Rybka was out because of a doping suspension.
The coach picked four ’ keepers, including Shakhtar Donetsk’s Andriy Pyatov, who was expected to become Blokhin’s first choice. – Netherlands-denmark (Group B) – Netherlands-germany (Group B) – Portugal-netherlands (Group B) KYIV June 11 – Ukraine-sweden (Group D) June 15 – Sweden-england (Group D) June 19 – Sweden-france (Group D) June 24 – Quarterfinal July 1 – Final LVIV June 9 – Germany-portugal (Group B) June 13 – Denmark-portugal (Group B) June 17 – Denmark-germany (Group B)