The countdown to kickoff begins… Go Ukraine!
Well, in a couple more sleeps the all-important away and home series begins.
We’ll find out just how bad our Yellow-Blues want to get to South Africa.
It’s going to be quite a match. In this fixture, most lines still slightly favor Greece, although Ukraine has been gaining some ground back recently. Will Hill (click link for current odds) favors Greece to win 23/20 as I’m writing this (vs draw 2/1 and a Ukraine win 21/10). By FIFA rankings, Greece ranks ahead of us (currently 16 vs 22).
So, what are we up against?:
First off, I’ve heard just how intimidating 75,000-seat Olympic Stadium can be… but I’m also hearing that it is expected to be less than half full.
Ukraine is missing a couple players due to injury (halfback Nazarenko and goalkeeper Shovkovskiy), but Greece is also dealing with a depleted squad, missing key defenders Giourkas Seitaridis and Vassilis Torossidis through injury – although both are expected to be ready for the Donetsk match on Wednesday. Missing both matches for the Greeks will be injured striker Giannis Amanatidis and defender Christos Patsatzoglou.
Aside – I’m hearing reports that Voronin asked Ukraine coach Oleksiy Mykhailychenko to let him stay at Liverpool and fight for his place in the team (he’s getting his opportunity now with Torres and Gerrard both slowed due to injury). If that’s the case, then apologies for the ramblings in my previous blog – although I’m still certain he would like more pitch time.
FIFA’s latest column quotes Shevchenko telling reporters “I believe we have a slight advantage starting the showdown with Greece away in Athens… We should play in a very well-disciplined style there even if the hosts are ahead. The Greeks are skilled players. They are well-disciplined and are very dangerous on the counter-attacks.” He reminds us that “we have some positive experiences from playing Greece. We overcame them in the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign. We won the group and a ticket to Germany.”
Mykhailychenko will be playing for the win, saying “We’re going to try to score goals in Greece.” He says he’s counting on his experienced fighters – “Shevchenko, Tymoshchuk, Milevskiy and Gusev.”
Wear your Yellow and Blue with pride on Saturday. This is it my friends - Go Ukraine!
Good luck to Ukraine. I hope they can make it to South Africa. I would much prefer watching them then Greece, especially if Greece are going to play as they did at Euro 2008.
Posted from United States
Well written, nicely done! I hope to read some more…..about the team in South Africa. First we have to figure out a way to score some goals.
Nice blog, great insight…..much better that Bobby Mc on Fox sports.
too bad Igor Belanov cant replace Voronin. Watch those greeks they like to tackle from behind
but have to admit i’m more interested in the ads on this page.
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Posted from Canada
let’s do it boys!! we can win tomorrow, but at the very least let’s get a draw with an all important away goal. Slava!! and keep up the blogging here, great work. looking forward to reading this blog next June!!
An away draw – well, I think Ukraine settled some critics with that effort. So many predictions for an away loss. It’s going to be up to our boys at home now – WIN, and we’re in!
Unable to add to the blog this evening, unfortunately. Sorry everyone – more tomorrow.
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