Euro draw gives Ukraine Swedes, French and English

12.12.2011 | kyivweekly.com.ua

Domestic football struggling in European competitons this season

We now know the 16 countries that will compete in Ukraine and Poland in June. The EURO-2012 match draw ceremony held last week in Kyiv gave co-host Poland a good chance of advancing, as they will play Russia, Greece and Czech Republic, while Ukraine has the pleasure of going against Sweden and France before wrapping up the group stage with England in Donetsk. The draw, watched by President Yanukovych, was also attended by the usual myriad of politicians, past and present, who have done little for the game but somehow get ringside seats on big occasions. Ukraine does have a chance of reaching the last eight, since home-field advantage and home-town support are worth something. Also, the national team appears to be turning the tide after an awful run of games, having won three of its last four games, with the other being a 3-3 draw with Germany in November.Manager Oleh Blokhin has blooded new players. Much depends if the team can shrug off co-hosting pressures and avoid stage fright. But against the background of EURO-2012 euphoria, the domestic game is struggling. Dynamo Kyiv are unlikely to progress to the last 32 of the Europa League, the sister competition of the prestigious Champions League. Vorskla Poltava is already out. Though Kharkiv Metalist is the one success story in the competition for Ukraine, champion Shakhtar Donetsk has gone from the dizzy heights of giving Barcelona a good game in the quarter final of the Champions League this past spring to dropping out in the group stage this season. Meanwhile, Metalist has shown the way and will represent the countrys European club ambitions next spring. The Ukrainian national team needs to be the engine to get domestic football thriving again. Come on you yellow and blues!

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