Ukraine thirsty for France win after PM bet
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Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov is so convinced the bouyant co-hosts will beat France in Euro 2012 Group D in Donetsk on Friday (1600 GMT) he is betting his best-quality cognac on it.
Ukraine' soccer player Bohdan Butko smiles as he attends a training session during the Euro 2012 at Donbass Arena in Donetsk June 14, 2012. Ukraine will face France on Friday in their Group D Euro 2012 soccer match. Photo: REUTERS
After a morale-boosting 2-1 win over the Swedes at a rocking Olympic Stadium on Monday, Azarov said he was sure Ukraine would win even though they have never beaten France who are on a 22-match unbeaten run.
However, with spearhead Andriy Shevchenko on song after his two-goal show in the capital and France coming into the game on the back of scoring just once from 19 shots against England, the outcome is far from certain.
Now is the perfect time for a first Ukraine win as three points would guarantee them a quarter-final berth and send the country, beset by political turmoil, into raptures.
England and Sweden must improve when they lock horns in Kiev (1845) and while a draw would not count either side out both know the importance of victory.
England were satisfied with their opening 1-1 draw against France but the Swedes, who have never lost a competitive match against the English, were disappointed with their performance against Ukraine.