Ukraine re­lies on ‘at­tack­ing’ play­ers

Kyiv Post - - Neuerwos20­12 -

(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)

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