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EURO 2020 inside track: Ukraine

UEFA.com's Ukraine reporter Bogdan Buga explains how Andriy Shevchenko has overhauled the team's playing style as they gear up for their third EURO.

Meet the teams: Ukraine
Meet the teams: Ukraine

Group C fixtures

13/06: Netherlands vs Ukraine (Amsterdam)
17/06: Ukraine vs North Macedonia (Bucharest)
21/06: Ukraine vs Austria (Bucharest)

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

Team profile

Coach: Andriy Shevchenko
Captain: Andriy Pyatov
Nickname: Synio-Zhovti (Blue-Yellow)
How they qualified: Group A winners (W6 D2 L0 F17 A4)
EURO best: group stage (2012, 2016)

Where they could play their knockout games

Round of 16: Bucharest, Budapest, Glasgow or London
Quarter-final: Saint Petersburg, Munich, Rome or Baku
Semi-final: London
Final: London

Final 26-man squad

Andriy Shevchenko passes on his message to the players
Andriy Shevchenko passes on his message to the playersAFP via Getty Images

Goalkeepers: Georgiy Bushchan (Dynamo Kyiv), Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Anatolii Trubin (Shakhtar Donetsk)

Defenders: Oleksandr Karavaev (Dynamo Kyiv), Serhiy Kryvtsov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Mykola Matviyenko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Vitaliy Mykolenko (Dynamo Kyiv), Denys Popov (Dynamo Kyiv), Eduard Sobol (Club Brugge), Oleksandr Tymchyk (Dynamo Kyiv), Illia Zabarnyi (Dynamo Kyiv), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Roman Bezus (Gent), Yevhen Makarenko (Kortrijk), Ruslan Malinovskyi (Atalanta), Marlos (Shakhtar Donetsk), Mykola Shaparenko (Dynamo Kyiv), Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Heorhii Sudakov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Serhiy Sydorchuk (Dynamo Kyiv), Viktor Tsygankov (Dynamo Kyiv)

Forwards: Artem Besedin (Dynamo Kyiv), Artem Dovbyk (Dnipro-1) , Roman Yaremchuk (Gent), Andriy Yarmolenko (West Ham), Oleksandr Zubkov (Ferencváros)

EURO 2012 highlights: Ukraine 2-1 Sweden
EURO 2012 highlights: Ukraine 2-1 Sweden

UEFA.com Ukraine team reporter: Bogdan Buga

As with Ukraine themselves, this will be my third EURO. The first in 2012 was really special since Ukraine were co-hosts and you could feel the incredible spirit of the tournament everywhere. It also gave me my best EURO moment, when Andriy Shevchenko scored twice against Sweden to seal Ukraine's only win in the finals. Speaking of Shevchenko, it's been exciting to watch his development – from captain in 2012, when he gave me his last ever interview as a national-team player, to assistant coach in 2016 and now as the man in charge.

How they play

Always known as a counterattacking side, Ukraine have changed their style under Shevchenko to play possession-based football against most opponents. Their basic formation is 4-3-3, with one holding midfielder and preferably inverted wingers. This year Shevchenko has also opted for a 3-5-2, which means they could be even more tactically flexible and unpredictable at the EURO.

Key player: Ruslan Malinovskyi

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.

Highlights: Ukraine 1-0 Spain
Highlights: Ukraine 1-0 Spain

Coach: Andriy Shevchenko

A brilliant striker who won the UEFA Champions League and Ballon d'Or while at AC Milan, Shevchenko was arguably Ukraine's best ever player. Appointed coach after EURO 2016, he has introduced revolutionary changes to the Synio-Zhovti's style, switching from physical, counterattacking football to a possession-based game. However, the recent 1-0 home win against Spain and 1-1 draw in France showed they have not forgotten their countering basics.

One to watch: Viktor Tsygankov

The Dynamo Kyiv man has tough competition, as Andriy Yarmolenko and Marlos can both fill his favoured position on Ukraine's right wing, yet he continues to carve out a niche. Despite having been sidelined several times due to injuries this season, the 23-year old left-footed winger remains his side's biggest attacking threat.

Can they win it?

"We know we are not favourites but we are not going there just for participation," Tsygankov told me the other day. We've seen some fairy tales at EUROs and Ukraine have enough talent and desire to create another. Of course, they will need some luck – and not a little – but this team will give battle to any opponent.

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