‘Leader of football’ France is set to take on Ukraine. Both teams are very balanced and ready to beat their rivals. Euro 2012 schedule and results:
Although Ukrainian coach Oleg Blokhin has termed France as ‘leader of football, it is the French side which looks quite wary of the co-host as both the teams get ready to change strategy and try their best on Friday’s night to book a berth in the quarter final from group ‘D’ in Euro 2012. And if they win it would be their first win against the French.
Ukrainian team were considered not a strong challenger in the ‘group of death’ initially but a 2-1 win against Sweden in the very first match gave it a sudden name and fame.
So much so that the Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azaro is ready to bet for his team’s win against France tonight who have not lost a match for the last 22 matches they played. A win here would be great news not only for the football lovers but it would also help the country which is running with a political turmoil.
France got a very tough inaugural match against England and in fact was down one goal but its new star Samir Nasri got the equalizer for them. However a tough defense line prevented the French a straight win even after 19 shots to the posts. So they were forced to share points with the English side.
Ukraine would heavily depend on Andriy Shevchenko’s experience who was earlier criticized for his age and injuries. But Shevchnko’s two goals by headers have made him great hope for the Ukrainian side. The 35-year-old Shevchenko’s will retire from international duty at the end of this tournament.
Shevchenko has scored total 48 goals for his country and thinks that they have a good chance to go through the quarters.
Ukrainian coach Blokhin thinks that his team’s win performance against Sweden was not enough and to beat France they would have to raise their level.
On the other hand French coach Laurent Blanc seems to be quite watchful of a resurgent Ukrainian side.
Blanc is wary of the fact that their 1-1 draw with England was result of a slow start and his team would like to avoid that in tonight’s game. Though the French team has not lost for the last 22 matches but they have not won in eight consecutive matches of major tournament.
Blanc is pinning his hope on his ‘great’ players because according to him great players always perform in big tournaments as they take responsibility. He says that his great players need to show it on Friday.
France right back Mathieu Debuchy thinks they are prepared for this match but cautions that it’s going to be hard against Ukraine as they will be very motivated and have the crowd on their side.
If France is defeated tonight they would be close to a third straight first round elimination at a major competition after getting ousted from the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2008.