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Zavarov reflects on '88 success

Ukraine have only just started out on their journey at UEFA EURO 2012 but Oleksandr Zavarov has his own story to tell after reaching the final with the Soviet Union in 1988.

Zavarov reflects on '88 success
Zavarov reflects on '88 success ©UEFA.com

Speaking to UEFA.com in the aftermath of Ukraine's UEFA European Championship debut, Oleksandr Zavarov looked back to a previous successful campaign as part of the Soviet Union team that reached the final 24 years ago in West Germany.

Zavarov and his team-mates may have gone all the way to the 1988 final, but he is the first to admit that the occasion got to him at first. "We were already quite experienced – we had been playing in the European Championship and in the World Cup," he said of his initial reaction upon arriving in Germany. "On the other hand, how can you remain calm and not get nervous if your opponents in the group include the Netherlands, England and Ireland and the other group is Germany, Italy, Spain and Denmark?"

Yesterday's opening win aside, Ukraine must still overcome their own difficulties at UEFA EURO 2012 with Group D games to come against France and England, but Zavarov, 51, is keen to look more long term. "After this the Ukrainian people will be very excited and will be expecting further football victories," he said. "There is nobody to do it but the younger generation, guys that are currently 20. They will be 22 to 24 by 2014 and 2016. This is where we need to invest our heart, soul and financial means because players need to play not in order to be offered a nice contract but for the honour of their country and their own honour."

For the full interview, view the video above.