Group D
Ukraine 2-1 Sweden

 

Man of the moment Shevchenko (pictured in yellow) looked to poke the ball away from Swedish left-back Martin Olsson in the second half


 

By Alex Byrom
Deputy Football Editor reporting from Kiev

 

Ukraine national hero Andriy Shevchenko scored twice as the co-hosts Ukraine came from behind to beat Sweden in the opening match of group D and top England's group.  

The former Chelsea striker scored twho headers as co-hots Ukraine came back to pick up a deserved win whilst Sweden's poor run of form at major tournaments continues, depsite figurehead Zlatan Ibrahimovic giving them the lead.

Ukraine's starting eleven didn't shock most people; it wasn't full of world class wingers, lifelong defenders, or dazzling stars. In fact, only 2 players were probably known to English fans: The Ukrainian captain, and Andriy Voronin - who flopped at Liverpool a while ago.

Sweden's eleven wasn't much different either. Although, all the players were well known, and one of them - former Aston Villa hero Olof Mellberg - was playing in his 6th major tournament, and was passed fit to play. Someone who wasn't though was Johan Elmander: The former Bolton striker broke a foot last week, and was surprisingly named on the bench.

 

? DID YOU KNOW ?

Kim Kallstrom began Euro 2012 with an assist, after making the joint number of assists in qualifying.

 

Sweden - who didn't have to play a play-off as they qualified as best runner-up behind Holland, who they beat in their final game, and Ukraine, who had never won a match at a European Championship finals - set off in a frantic start as both sides tried to force themselves into the game. Because of this desire and commitment Kallstrom was cautioned after just 11 minutes for a late challenge.

The Swedes created the first decent opening when, after fantastic skill by Ibrahimovic, the AC Milan striker's cross-shot was only half parried by the keeper but didn't quite fall for Seb Larsson, who was probing away in the box.

Ukraine were having solid spells in possession but Sweden's rugged style meant they couldn't get in behind them. When they did they fashioned their first chance. They hit Sweden on the counter attack with Shevchenko on the ball. He did a one-two with Voronin which played him in but he dragged his shot wide of the post.

On the half hour, there was a shot on target. Rosenberg swivelled on a pass, and hit a good shot, but too close to keeper who still managed to fumble it. He didn't look very convincing as a keeper.

Both sides were now finding space and Vorinin forced a expert save out of Isaksson who pushed it away with 2 strong hands, even if the distance was pretty great.

Left winger Konolianka who was always a threat down the left, he wasn't given the ball enough, but he hit a wild shot from the edge of the box that flew wide of the post, but a decent chance.

The co-hosts' best chance came in the 37th minute: Voronin again was the instigator who found Shevchenko. The frontman was denied by an excellent block, but he managed to head it back across for Yaramenko but the right winger was denied by a smothering save by Isaksson.

But the best chance of the entire half fell Sweden's way 5 minutes before half time when Elm's cross found Ibrahimovic unmarked at the back post, but the Serie A top scorer could only head it across the goal, and it deflected off the far post.

Sweden had obviously been given a kick up the backside at half time as they began more positively in the second half. And within 5 minutes of the restart the Scanidinavian's too the lead through Ibrahimovic - who has scored Sweden's last 4 goals, and became Sweden's leading scorer in major tournaments when he tapped in from Kallstrom's pass across the goal. He wasn't picked up. Ukraine, however were furious as they had had a player down in the build-up.

But the lead lasted just 3 minutes as Ukraine hit back instantly: Yaramenko made up his error in the Sweden goal to deliver a peach of a cross and Shevchenko outmuscled his marker to nod home the equaliser and send the 'home' faithful into delirium.

Six minutes later, and the match was turned on its head as Shevchenko popped up again to head in the second. A corner swung into the near post by Konoplianka and great movement again by the 33 year old saw him lose Ibrahimovic and he powered the header pst the man on the post. 

Sweden had to change in order to try and get back in the game: Veteran Anders Svensson came on for the ineffective Toivenen and Wilhemsson replaced Larsson and they got desperate when Elmander came on Rosenberg.

Despite these changes it was still Ukraine doing most of the attacking. Konoplianka had a shot from distance that cleared the crosssbar.

But Sweden did create a golden opportunity on 76 minutes. Ibrahimovic did a one-two on the edge of the box and unleashed a fierce drive that the keeper did well to parry away. On 80 minutes, the exciting Wilhemsson hit a shot that was easily gathered by keeper as it was a bit weak.

? DID YOU KNOW ?

Shevchenko's last brace for his national side came against Turkey in November 2004.

When Shevchenko was withdrawn with 7 minutes to go, a whole nation stood up to congratulate a local hero. His two goals was very close to propelling his side to the top of the group.

There was still time for a last chance for the Swedes and it fell to substitute Elmander: played in by Ibrahimovic he volleyed wide with his left foot, when a neat chip would have meant a point. A poor finish.

And so it was all over and Ukraine had a win, their first ever in European history, a win to take them top, a win to make the nation believe they can get out of the group.

 

 

 

 

Monday 11th June                 UEFA Euro 2012: Poland & Ukraine                   Group D                  Olympic Stadium, Kiev


Ukraine 2-1 Sweden                                                             KO 7:45pm                    Live on BBC1/HD                (HT 0-0)    

Shevchenko 55, 61        Ibrahimovic 52

 

 

Ukraine:

(4-2-3-1)


12. Pyatov-  5.5/10  S. 

9. Gusev  7/10  D.  

4. Mykhalyk-  6/10  L. 

3. Khacheridi-  6.5/10  L. 

2. Selin-  7/10  . 

11. Yarmolenko-  8/10  E.  

4. Tymoschuck-  7/10  E.  

19. Konoplianka-  8/10  A.  

18. Nazarenko-  8/10 O. 

10. Voronin- 9/10  W. 

7. Schevchenko (C)- 9.5/10  L.  

 

Substitutes bench:-  
1. Koval (GK), 5. Kucker, 6. Garmash, 8. Aliev, 13. Schevchuk, 20. Rakitskiy, 21. Butko, 23. Goryainov. 

 

Subs used:     

Milevsky (for Shevchenko 81)-  3/10  E.   

Rotan (for Voronin 84)-  2/10  R.

Devic (for Konoplienka 90)-  0.5/10  R. 

  

Booked:         None


Sent-off:         
None

Sweden:

(4-3-3)


1. Isaksson-  6/10  S. 

2. Lustig-  6.5/10  D.  

3. Mellberg-  5.5/10  L. 

4. Granqvist-  5/10  L. 

5. Martin Olsson-  6/10  . 

7. Elm-  5/10  E.  

9. Kallstrom-  7.5/10  E.  

6. Larsson-  6.5/10  A.  

10. Ibrahimovic-  8.5/10 O. 

20. Toivenen- 5/10  W. 

22. Rosenberg- 6/10  L.  

 

Substitutes bench:-  
12. Wiland, 8. Svensson, 13. Jonas Olsson, 15. Antonssen, 16. Wernbloom, 17. Safari, 18. Holmen, 23. Hansson. 

 

Subs used:     

Svensson (for Toineven 63)-  3.5/10  E.   

Wilhemsson (for Larsson 69)-  4/10  R.

Elmander (for Rosenborg 71)-  2.5/10  R. 

  

Booked:         Kallstrom (11), Elm (83),


Sent-off:         
None


My Man of the Match:    Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine)- Rating 9.5/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:   Jan Toivenen (Sweden)- Rating 5/10


Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (Turkey)- 6.5/10
Attendance: 68,000

 

 

Match Facts:


Possession:  Ukraine- 57%               
Sweden- 43%

Shots at goal: Ukraine- 14               Sweden- 12

Shots on target: Ukraine- 6               Sweden- 6

Shots off target: Ukraine- 8               Sweden- 6

Corners: Ukraine- 3               Sweden- 2

Fouls: Ukraine- 12               Sweden- 18

Offsides: Ukraine- 6               Sweden- 5

Assists: Ukraine- Yaromolenko & Konoplianka               Sweden- Kallstrom 


MANAGERS COMMENTS & REACTION:

Ukraine head coach Oleh Blokin:  "We knew he [Shevchenko] had trouble before the tournament, but that is all in the past. What matters is the present. We played a good game, especially coming from behind and we thought that if we got the ball in the penalty box on more than one occasion Andriy would be there to score a goal. Thnakfully, he scored 2 goals for us and we won the match. We are now in a strong position [in the group] and hopefully we can produce the same quality in the next match against France [on Friday]."

Sweden head coach Erik Hamren :  "We knew how we would play and we didn't play to a good level. You need [all] eleven players to be on their game and we only had 5 or 6 in the first half. We knew the crosses would come in and we were up against a superb player. Technically and tactiaclly we weren't on it." 

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