Ukraine take on Sweden tonight in Euro 2012 Group D.
Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin has confirmed the bout of food poisoning that affected his squad last week has cleared up.
Forward Andriy Shevchenko may get the nod to play behind Artem Milevskiy up front.
Sweden could include striker Johan Elmander who returned to full training on Friday, although Ola Toivonen is another option to play ahead of captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Due to their automatic qualification for the tournament, Ukraine haven’t had a competitive game since losing to Greece in a World Cup Qualifying Play-Off back in November 2009. However Head coach, Oleh Blokhin will be encouraged by their recent results in friendly matches with wins over Bulgaria, Estonia, Austria and Israel as well as a notable draw with Germany.
Although many home fans will look to their all-time top goalscorer and living legend, Shevchenko surely at 35 its asking too much for the former AC Milan superstar to spearhead the co-host to victory. Arguably the most important player for Ukraine to start of their campaign with all three points will be Bayern Munich’s Anatoliy Tymoshchuk. The defensive midfielder has played over 100 times for his country and will need to produce his excellent form for the national side if the home fans are to go home happy.
For Sweden, much will once again depend on the form of Ibrahimovic. The AC Milan striker has been in excellent goalscoring form for the Rossoneri all season and head coach Erik Hamrén will need the much maligned centre forward to add to his 29 international goals. Ibrahimović will also need Sunderland winger Sebastian Larsson to provide the service if they are to upset the home crowd. Many pundits believe Larsson is the best dead-ball specialist in the Premier League so the Ukrainian defence will need to be well disciplined when defending set pieces.
The Sweds qualified for Euro 2012 as the best placed runner-up in qualifying and looked extremely impressive when beating World Cup finalists Holland, 3-2 back in October.