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Dublin: 13 °C Monday 10 August, 2020


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Full-Time: Ukraine 2-1 Sweden

OK, so France v England made a game of Subutteo look like the opening scenes of Apocalypse Now. That is to say, it was rubbish. We’re hoping for far better fare from the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv, where Ukraine entertain Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden.

Ukraine: Pyatov, Gusev, Mykhalyk, Khacheridi, Selin, Yarmolenko, Tymoschuk, Konoplianka, Nazarenko, Voronin, Shevchenko

Subs: Koval, Kucher, Garmash, Aliev, Shevchuk, Rakitskiy, Butko, Goryainov

Sweden: Isaksson, Lustig, Mellberg, Granqvist, Martin Olsson, Elm, Kallstrom, Larsson, Ibrahimovic, Toivonen, Rosenberg

Subs: Wiland, Svensson, Jonas Olsson, Antonsson, Wernbloom, Safari, Holmen, Hansson

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)

The man to look out for in the Ukraine is the right midfielder Andriy Yarmolenko, the new star of the side now that striker Andriy Shevchenko is 73-years-old.

For Sweden, it’s all about Zlatan, and which version of the great/vastly overrated striker will show up.

The game kicks off!

The Swedish attack is being led by Markus Rosenberg, the third most Swedish-looking man in the world behind Johan Elmander (injured) and Olof Mellberg (playing).

A long range effort from Kim Kallstrom but the ball sails far over the bar. First effort on goal, even if it was never going to trouble Andriy Pyatov.

Twitter’s Jan Aage Fjortoft (formerly Swindon’s Jan Aage Fjortoft) pays homage to some big names…

As Sebastian Larsson’s free-kick is claimed by Pyatov, Kallstrom is shown the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Oleh Husyev.

Between both the Ukrainian and Swedish jerseys on display, we haven’t seen this much yellow since the demise of Setanta Sports News…

Sweden are not having much joy with their free-kicks. Rasmus Elm takes over from Larsson and lofts one towards the back post. They seldom come off.

The ball bounces off the head of Ibrahimovic and to safety.

A cross-shot from Ibrahimovic draws a save from Pyatov. There was a bit of an oooooh in the stadium, but not much of an aaaaah.

Best chance of the game so far, as Andriy Shevchenko is played in by Yarmelenko and shoots narrowly past Isaksson’s post. That got the blood pressure up.

Wonder if the 27-year-old Sheva would have put that away?

Yevhen Konoplyanka on the left of the Ukraine midfield looks to be a tidy player, and has the beating of Swedish defender Lustig. So far, Yarmolenko has been quiet, and the sulky, diffident Ibrahimovic has shown up.

Pyatov gets down smartly to save from Rosenberg, who turns and swivels on a pass from Toivonen.

It’s fairly quiet here. Tell us, what’s the big deal about Game of Thrones?

We have a match.

First, Voronin has a blistering shot saved one-handed by Isaksson – there was a swerve on it that almost caught the Swedish ‘keeper out.

The Ibrahimovic shows some lovely skill to ghost in towards the Ukrainian goal but there’s no end product.

Three chances in a row for Ukraine, as Shevchenko, Voronin and Yarmolenko all manage to fluff their lines. With eight minutes remaining of this half, the game has picked up.

Off the post from Ibrahimovic! A header from the Milan striker hits Pyatov’s post. The goalkeeper was well beaten, the striker thought he had scored it.

Gusev, who has featured heavily, crosses the ball and Konoplyanka gets on the end of it, but fires over under pressure from Lustig.

Chances for both Ibrahimovic and Shevchenko, and plenty more besides, but this has been a match dominated by bad finishing. It’s half-time in Kyiv.

The players are being led back on to the pitch.

As Rosenberg misses another chance to get the game’s first goal, we found this. And laughed. Muchly.

We have the first goal of the game! It’s Ukraine 0-1 Sweden and the goalscorer is one Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He doesn’t do it in the big games, no? He certainly has done here. The ball is crossed over to Rosenberg and the 29-year-old lays it back into the path of his captain.

Easy finish for the former Barcelona man, who wheels away in delight. It’s his 32nd goal for Sweden.

Andriy Shevchenko equalises instantly! A classic header from the legendary striker, who leaves Isaksson with no chance at all from Yarmolenko’s cross.

The crowd goes wild!

Shevchenko scores again!

Sign him up, Roman! Another magnificent header as he ghosts in front of the Swedish defence at a corner. He squeezed it in magnificently. Whew!

Interesting now to see if Ukraine curb their attacking tendencies in a bid to hold on to an unlikely lead. Their front duo of Shevchenko and Voronin have been superb, running and hassling Sweden all night, but they are not young and could both be replaced by younger, more defence-oriented legs.

Christian Wilhelmsson replaces the ineffective Larsson. Johan Elmander is not as injured as we thought he was – the former Bolton striker is warming up.

Elm stretches on to a long ball over the top, but he can’t direct the ball on to the goal.

Elmander comes on for Rosenberg despite not being 100% fit. Sweden need a fresh threat alongside Ibrahimovic up front.

There are 15 minutes remaining. The match has settled back into caution from Ukraine and long balls from Sweden.


Ibrahimovic almost scores with an absolute dinger! The volley, however, is straight at Ukraine’s goalkeeper. Good pressure from the Swedes.

No hat-trick for Shevchenko, who has been withdrawn with ten minutes of the game remaining for his clubmate Artem Milevskiy.

Two world class headers from the great man, can’t wait to see if he can replicate the form of tonight against England and France.

Khacheridi almost scores an own goal as he narrowly misses Elm’s ball into the Ukraine box. Let-off for the home side there.

Far from sitting back, Ukraine are going for a third here but Sweden break, Elmander has just the goalkeeper to beat, he can’t miss…


That’s probably Sweden’s last chance and it looks like the former Bolton man has cost them dearly.

The impressive Konoplyanka is taken off after a fine performance, surely it’s three points for Ukraine.

Meanwhile, fast forward to 1:14 for what looks like the winning goal…

CHANCE FOR MELLBERG, but he misses!

The bearded one shins a long ball over Pyatov’s bar, and that is that. Ukraine have a crucial and well deserved victory, with both goals coming from Andriy Shevchenko. Zlatan Ibrahimovic had put Sweden in front early in the second half.

Thanks for keeping up, a lot more to come tomorrow!

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