Yesterday was another chilly and rainy Kyiv day which was reminiscent of Tirol, where the Ukrainian team has been training.
The players will arrive tomorrow morning in an attempt to avoid too much attention from fans and media at Boryspil Airport. The infrastructure at Boryspil has undergone a great transformation in preparation for UEFA EURO 2012, with two new terminals now open. The smaller Kyiv-Zhulyany Airport, which lies within the city's limits, has also got a new terminal building.
The Ukrainian team camp is in Chapaevka, a small village just inside Kyiv's boundaries. Usually this is the camp of FC Dynamo Kyiv but with nine current and two former Dynamo players as well as much of the coaching staff in the squad, Chapaevka will feel familiar to many. Located near to the city, with pine forests and several impeccable football fields surrounding it, this base was a natural choice.
Despite the perfect home, it may or may not come as a surprise to hear that Ukrainian fans are not overly optimistic about the country's chances. I had a chance to talk to some local supporters and they are wary that their team will not be strong enough to overcome the likes of France and England.
Ukraine have also had to cope with their fair share of injury withdrawals. Goalkeepers Olexandr Shovkovskiy and Andriy Dykan have both been ruled out, while the absence of the experienced Dmytro Chygrynskiy has also weakened Ukraine's defence. As such, much of the media's hopes rest on the team's outstanding wingers, Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka, as well as the talismanic Andriy Shevchenko.
Will Ukraine live up to the cautious mood of the fans, or will the more positive outlook held by some former coaches and players prove to be better placed?
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