Blokhin Names Team For Ukraine's World Cup Debut

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin named Andriy Shevchenko in his 23-man squad Monday for the World Cup despite the AC Milan striker's knee injury.

Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin

Shevchenko, tied for fourth in Italy's Series A with 19 goals this season, hurt his knee earlier this month against Parma. But he plans to take part in the World Cup, Ukraine's first ever appearance at a major soccer tournament.

Dynamo Kyiv goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovsky is also on the list despite struggling with a collarbone injury. Shovkovsky, however, showed no sign of injury when he played Sunday in the Ukrainian league.

In one of the few unexpected moves, Blokhin also named 21-year-old Andriy Pyatov, who plays for Ukraine's youth team.

The squad will include eight players from Dynamo Kyiv, five from Shakhtar Donetsk, four from Dnipro Dniproptrovsk and four from outside of Ukraine.

Ukraine became the first European team to qualify for the World Cup by winning its group ahead of European champion Greece, 2002 World Cup semifinalist Turkey and Denmark.

At the World Cup, Ukraine will face Spain, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia in Group H.

Source: AP