They are difficult times in Ukraine with political upheaval disrupting both the domestic league and the preparations of the national team. Ukraine qualified in 2012 as joint host along with Poland but has no other history in the tournament to speak of since separating from the USSR. Notable Ukrainian exports include Andriy Shevchenko but since his retirement they have been dark times for Ukrainian football both on and off the pitch in comparison to the heady Lobanovsky days.
How They Qualified: Ukraine qualified via a play-off after finishing third in Group C behind Spain and Slovakia. The play-off pitted them against Norway who they made light work of dispatching 3-1 on aggregate after a 2-0 victory in their temporary home stadium in Lviv.
Tournament History: Group Stages 2012.
Coach: Mykhaylo Fomenko.
One of the old school coaches from the Lobanovsky era where Fomenko was one of his disciples. He also had a fairly successful playing career after winning three Soviet titles as well as a bronze medal with the USSR in the 1976 Olympics. He has a some work to do in uniting his squad due to a reported Dynamo Kiev/Shakhtar Donetsk split.
Nickname: Synyo-Zhovti (Blue and yellows)
Key Man: Andriy Yarmolenko.
The 26-year-old Dynamo Kiev winger has scored 22 goals in 55 international appearances, including a crucial goal in each leg of the play-off against Norway. He is a versatile forward, capable of playing anywhere across the attacking midfield three in a 4-2-3-1 and is at his best cutting in from the right flank to use his left foot. He is consistently linked with a move to England as well as Barcelona, the latter of which were reported to be sniffing around the winger’s reported $20 million release clause.
One To Watch: Artem Kravets.
The unlucky forward has had a career plagued by injury. Now fit and firing with Dynamo Kiev he looks like he could provide the perfect support to key man Yarmolenko. A brief loan to VFB Stuttgart has also got the forwards juices flowing just in time for the tournament in France.
June 12, 3 p.m. vs. Germany
June 16, 12 p.m. vs. Northern Ireland
June 21, 12 p.m. vs. Poland
Goalkeepers: Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar), Denys Boyko (Besiktas), Mykyta Shevchenko (Zorya).
Defenders: Evhen Khacheridi (Dynamo Kyiv), Bohdan Butko (Amkar), Artem Fedetskyi (Dnipro), Oleksandr Karavaev (Zorya), Oleksandr Kucher (Shakhtar), Yaroslav Rakytskyi (Shakhtar), Vyacheslav Shevchuk (Shakhtar).
Midfielders: Serhiy Rybalka (Dynamo Kyiv), Denys Garmash (Dynamo Kiev), Serhiy Sydorchuk (Dynamo Kyiv), Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kyiv), Evhen Konoplyanka (Sevilla), Ruslan Rotan (Dnipro), Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar), Viktor Kovalenko (Shakhtar), Anatolyi Tumoschuk (Kairat), Oleksandr Zinchenko (UFA).
Forwards: Roman Zozylya (Dnipro), Pylyp Budkivskyi (Zorya), Evhen Seleznyov (Shakhtar).