Ukraine Ready To Make History

COLOGNE, Germany -- Ukraine can continue their rise from the ashes to beat Switzerland and reach the quarter-finals on Monday. Oleg Blokhin's side were routed 4-0 by Spain in their first-ever World Cup match, but have now found their feet at the highest level.

An equally thumping 4-0 destruction of Saudi Arabia and a slightly fortuitous 1-0 win over Tunisia has buoyed the Ukrainians' faith.

Blokhin insists he has already fulfilled his ambitions in progressing to the knockout rounds, but he may now be revising those aims given it is the Swiss and not the more imposing - on paper at least - French that his players face in Cologne.

Kobi Kuhn's men have been solid rather than spectacular so far in squeezing out of a group with France, South Korea and Togo.

Striker Alex Frei has two goals to his name already, but the Rennes striker - as he showed against France and the Koreans - needs too many chances to score and as the tournament progresses those are few and far between.


The Ukrainians have more clinical Shevchenko - who also has two goals - the lively Andriy Voronin and a reborn Sergiy Rebrov, who will pose a significant threat to a Swiss back four lacking the calming presence of Philippe Senderos.

The unfortunate Arsenal defender's club team-mate Johann Djourou will step in alongside Patrick Muller, but Djourou's lack of experience and Muller's relative lack of pace will see the Swiss struggle.

Swiss captain Johann Vogel and the industrious Raphael Wicky will need to get on top of Anatoly Tymoschuk and Maxim Kalinichenko in midfield if the Swiss are not to be overrun.

But Blokhin does have worries of his own with Vyacheslav Svidersky and Andriy Rusol both suspended, and promising youngster Dmitro Chigrynskiy likely to miss the rest of the tournament after picking up a thigh injury.

"We don't know who we are going to play in central defence," Blokhin admitted.

PREDICTION: 1-0 - Ukraine to sneak through, Shevchenko the hero

Source: EuroSport