Euro 2020: What you need to know about England’s opponents Ukraine

Ukraine will be no pushovers against England. Credit: AP

By Sports Producer Dan Salisbury-Jones

England meet Ukraine in the quarter-final of Euro 2020 on Saturday night and go into the game as the favourites.

The Three Lions are ranked fourth in the world, well ahead of their opponents at 24, and boast more of the big names.

But Ukraine, managed by the former best player in the world, have more than enough to cause an upset in Rome.

Here's a look at some of Ukraine's dangermen.

Andriy Shevchenko

Ukraine’s greatest player is now their manager. The former AC Milan striker was named the best player in the world in 2004 and 48 goals for his country makes him their all-time leading goal scorer.

He was offered the role of managing the national side in 2012 but turned it down to pursue a very brief career in politics. The party he joined failed to win any seats in parliament, so he knocked it on the head.

Andriy Shevchenko used to be the best player in the world. Credit: AP

The national federation came calling again in 2016 and, after a brief spell as assistant head coach, he got the top job.

Links to Chelsea didn’t help Timo Werner and Kai Havertz get the better of England with Germany in the last 16 but Ukrainians will hope for a different outcome.

Shevchenko played for Chelsea during the latter stage of his career and there remains a strong connection with the club today as his 14-year-old son Kristian plays in their academy.

Oleksandr Zinchenko

The left-back goes under the radar at Manchester City because of the array of talent he plays alongside but he is arguably Ukraine’s best player. Shevchenko has invariably got the best out of him.

His resilience is incredible too. He spoke to me ahead of the Champions League final about how he escaped war in Ukraine before coming to England.

"It made me stronger" - Zinchenko on how his remarkable backstory helped propel him to football glory

His ability to bounce back from set-backs has been shown yet again by his form at this Euros.

His disappointment at losing to Chelsea in Porto last month seemed like a distant memory when he scored the goal to get them through the last round.

Andriy Yarmolenko

Another name familiar with Premier League fans. The West Ham attacker is very skilful and has an eye for the net.

In fact, he’s actually just six goals away from catching up with his manager on Ukraine’s all-time leading scorers list.

Ilia Zabarnyi

It may not seem that long ago when David Seaman got lobbed and England were knocked out by Brazil in the 2002 World Cup, but Ukraine’s centre back wasn’t even born.

18-year-old Ilia Zabarnyi is Ukraine’s youngest player to debut in a European Championship.

He only made his first start for his club last September but has impressed so much he is absolutely nailed on to be the man to try and stop Harry Kane adding to his tally tonight.

If he manages to do that, Chelsea will have to fork out a substantial amount if they were to follow through on their reported interest.


If things aren’t going well Ukraine might turn to some Brazilian flair from the bench.

That option comes in their Sao Jose dos Pinhais-born attacker, Marlos. He was called up for the national team the day after he received a Ukrainian passport in 2017.

Ruslan Malinovsky

A two-footed midfielder who has the potential to break English hearts tonight.

He has a similar free-kick technique to Cristiano Ronaldo so England will be well aware of the dangers of fouling near their own box.

Playing in Italy for Atalanta, he is one of only eight players in this squad not tied to a Ukrainian Premier League side.