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Blokhin to continue as Ukraine coach

Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin has been given a new two-year contract, with federation president Grigoriy Surkis hoping his side "will surprise us at UEFA EURO 2012".

Oleh Blokhin has extended his term as Ukraine coach by two years
Oleh Blokhin has extended his term as Ukraine coach by two years ©Yevhen Kraws

Oleh Blokhin will stay on as Ukraine coach until the end of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying after agreeing a new two-year contract.

Following a meeting of the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) executive committee, president Grigoriy Surkis said: "The FFU are working to give the national team everything it needs. This is no small task. Blokhin, of course, is never completely happy. At the moment he has a lot of key players injured. He is an optimist by nature and sets his goals accordingly. I hope his side will surprise us at UEFA EURO 2012, in performances and results."

Now 59, former FC Dynamo Kyiv and Soviet Union forward Blokhin took charge of Ukraine for a second time in April 2011. He previously held the role from 2003 to 2007, leading them to the last eight at their first World Cup finals in 2006. The UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts won 2-0 against Uzbekistan in the first game of Blokhin's second spell, then lost their next four fixtures, but have rallied since with three wins and a draw in their last four matches.

Ukraine visit Israel for a friendly next Wednesday. They will take on Sweden, France and England in Group D at UEFA EURO 2012. Meanwhile, England, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland and San Marino await them in Group H of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.