Ukraine finally get chance to shine
Read the original news
Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine will be out to show coach Oleg Blokhin they can shoot and tackle when they take on Sweden after old rivals France and England get Group D underway on Monday.
Ukrainian's national soccer team coach Oleg Blokhin attends a training session during the Euro 2012 at the Olympic stadium in Kiev June 10, 2012. Ukraine will play its first match of the Euro 2012 soccer championships against Sweden in Kiev on June 11, 2012. Photo: REUTERS
Blokhin has spoken of attacking and defensive concerns but on the eve of the 1845 GMT kick off against Sweden in Kiev he said his players were "chomping at the bit" to get started.
The co-hosts have shown little recent form and have watched helplessly as political rows and clashes between fans have marred the start of the tournament in their country, giving them even more incentive to impress on the pitch.
Preceding the Kiev clash is the intriguing encounter between France and England in Donetsk (1600).
Unbeaten in 21 matches, France look strong under former defender Laurent Blanc who played for Manchester United and believes he knows what to expect from Roy Hodgson's team.
Hodgson, appointed on May 1, has had little time to shape his team but has a wealth of coaching experience and the rare chance to lead England free from the usual burden of expectation heading into a major tournament.