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UEFA EURO 2020 contenders in focus: Ukraine

There is one game that stands above all others in Ukraine's EURO final tournament history.

Andriy Shevchenko gave Ukraine a memorable start to UEFA EURO 2012
Andriy Shevchenko gave Ukraine a memorable start to UEFA EURO 2012

EURO pedigree

Previous final tournaments: 2
EURO best: group stage (2012, 2016)

Ukraine have qualified for their third successive EURO but are yet to reach the knockout stage. Having made it to the finals as co-hosts for the first time in 2012, the Synio-Zhovti opened with a dramatic 2-1 comeback defeat of Sweden on a memorable night in Kyiv. Five successive EURO finals defeats have followed.

Key players

Every goal on Ukraine's road to EURO 2020
Every goal on Ukraine's road to EURO 2020

Andriy Yarmolenko (92 caps, 38 goals)
Ukraine's leading active scorer (only Andriy Shevchenko, on 48, is ahead in the all-time standings), Yarmolenko remains his side's main creative threat despite being short on first-team football at West Ham.

Ruslan Malinovskyi (32 caps, 6 goals)
Thanks to his excellent distribution and ability to retain possession, create space and glide between the lines – not to mention his venomous shot from distance – Atalanta's versatile left-footed midfielder has a huge impact on Ukraine's approach.

Memorable EURO goals

• Ukraine trailed Sweden for just three minutes of their UEFA EURO 2012 opener in Kyiv before captain Shevchenko headed in Yarmolenko's cross for a historic goal.

• Ukraine's current head coach went on to nod in the winner for Ukraine just after the hour – cue exuberant celebrations across the country.

Memorable moments

Watch Shevchenko head Ukraine to victory at EURO 2012
Watch Shevchenko head Ukraine to victory at EURO 2012

• Despite being plagued by injury at the tail-end of his career, Shevchenko's determination to feature on home soil in 2012 was duly rewarded that famous night in Kyiv. The NSK Olimpiyskiy hosted a party like no other.

• Ukraine could have reached the last eight in 2012 had they beaten England in their final group game, but a Wayne Rooney goal soon after the interval dashed their dreams.

• Ukraine were forced to swallow an equally bitter pill four years later when a 2-0 defeat by Northern Ireland ended their hopes of getting out of the group stage after just two fixtures.

Stats

Yarmolenko stuns Portugal in EURO 2020 qualifying
Yarmolenko stuns Portugal in EURO 2020 qualifying

Most final tournament appearances
6
: Yevgen Khacheridi, Yevhen Konoplyanka, Andriy Pyatov, Andriy Yarmolenko
4: Anatoliy Tymoshchuk

Most final tournament goals
2: Andriy Shevchenko

Killer stat: Ukraine have not scored in their last five EURO finals games: against France and England in 2012 and against Germany, Northern Ireland and Poland in 2016.

Did you know?

• After captaining the Synio-Zhovti at UEFA EURO 2012, Shevchenko was appointed assistant to Ukraine coach Mykhaylo Fomenko before the 2016 tournament. He is now preparing for his third EURO, this time in the top job.

• This is the first time Ukraine have qualified for a EURO directly; they made it as co-hosts in 2012 and required a play-off victory against Slovenia in 2016.

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