Euro 2020: How good are Ukraine, who are their key players and what's their record against England?

Ukraine's Artem Dovbyk celebrates scoring their side's second goal against Sweden. Credit: PA

England are preparing to take on Ukraine after Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane secured the squad's place among the Euro 2020 final eight.

But do the Three Lions stand a chance? How have England fared against Ukraine in the past?

ITV News puts the focus on Andriy Shevchenko’s side ahead of Saturday's clash.England vs Ukraine - the history

England's first meeting with Ukraine was a 2-0 win in a friendly in 2000 - Ukraine's football team was only founded after the country broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991.

The teams' last faced each other during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, playing out two draws. In total, England has drawn twice against Ukraine, won four times and lost once.


Andriy Shevchenko’s side qualified for Euro 2020 by finishing top of their group ahead of holders Portugal. Additionally, a Nations League win at home to Spain and a 1-1 draw against world champions France in the last 12 months shows they are a capable team.

Prior to their victory against Sweden, Ukraine’s only win in the group stage was a 2-1 success against North Macedonia sandwiched between defeats to Holland and Austria.


Ukraine boss Andriy Shevchenko Credit: PA

Shevchenko is Ukraine's all-time top scorer. The 2004 Ballon d’Or winner and former Chelsea striker was appointed to his first coaching role following Ukraine’s disastrous Euro 2016 campaign, which saw them lose all three group matches.

He received a vote of confidence after failing to reach the 2018 World Cup, extending his contract until 2022, and his team have since found a balance between defensive solidity and attacking creativity. This year, they made history by reaching the knockout stages of the European Championship for the first time. Tactics Shevchenko mainly uses a 4-3-3 formation but a system with three central defenders is also an option. Ukraine’s gameplan is built around two creative midfielders – Oleksandr Zinchenko, who plays as an attacking full-back for Manchester City, and Atalanta’s Ruslan Malinovskyi.

In Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk, they have goal threats who can turn the tide of a game as they showed in the group stages against Holland and North Macedonia. Key men

Ukraine's Andriy Yarmolenko (left) and Sweden's Pierre Bengtsson battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2020 round of 16 match. Credit: PA

Malinovskyi is the engine in midfield that drives the team forward. He dictates the tempo and is crucial for retaining possession. With an ability to make skillful, quick passes, the 28-year-old creates the space for forwards Yarmolenko and Yaremchuk to shine.

West Ham playmaker Yarmolenko is capable of sprinkling a little stardust on proceedings with his left foot, while Man City's Zinchenko is also an attacking threat down the left.

What do fans think could happen?

Fans who support Ukraine have told ITV News how significant Tuesday's game against Sweden was and how their team still has a lot more to give in this tournament.

Petro Chymera said: "You can't describe it like, before the tournament, I was asked, 'what's your favourite Ukraine moment?' and as fan we go to a lot of games, and it was when Ukraine beat Sweden in Euro 2012.

"And it's happened again, 2-1 again, a dramatic header to win it... we often have just have conversations and we rank the games - where does it sit in the memories - and that moment is going to be right up there."

He laughs: "And that's going to be in the shadow by beating England and then going to Wembley next week," for the the semi-finals.

His brother, Ewhen Chymera, added: "England go into that game as massive favourites, they really are. They're looking strong, they have so many options on that bench. We scored with a sub yesterday."

He said: "England are such a strong nation and the whole of England are now thinking 'this is our year' - everything seems to be pushing that way."

"Ukraine haven't really performed massively yet - I think we all know they are capable of more we just haven't seen it yet."