Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine welcome France to Donetsk on Friday knowing that a win against Les Blues will secure them a spot in the quarterfinals.
Ukraine will come into this clash on the back of a fairytale start to their European Championship campaign. Veteran striker and captain Andriy Shevchenko rolled back the years to score twice in seven minutes to lead his side to a thrilling 2-1 win over Sweden in Kiev on Monday. The former AC Milan and Chelsea striker was joined on the score sheet by another AC Milan player, Swedish captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The result means coach Oleg Blokhin's side are atop Group D and there is growing belief among players and fans they can make it to the knockout stages, at the expense of either England or France.
Meanwhile, France - one of the tournament favourites - head into their second group match after a 1-1 draw with England on Monday. Coach Laurent Blanc and several players, including Manchester United wing-back Patrice Evra and Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri, stated the team was left frustrated with the result and also the Three Lions' defensive tactics. Les Blues dominated possession and created several chances to win but could not find a way past a well organised English defence.
Blanc and his players know the hosts are high on confidence and their fans in a state of euphoria and with all the support from the Donbass Arena behind Ukraine, the French could be in for a tough game.
Tactics and Team News:
Ukraine: Sweden preferred a counterattacking approach against the co-hosts but Blokhin may have to contend with giving France a greater share of the possession and control. This means Ukraine may have to opt for a more defensively sound approach than the modified 4-4-2/4-1-3-2 that beat Erik Hamren's side. The hosts will have to sacrifice a forward to overload the midfield so they can try and stop France from controlling the game. Monday night's hero Shevchenko has been struggling for fitness and was also involved in a car accident, although no injuries were reported. The co-hosts' talismanic skipper could make way for an extra holding midfielder but if the 35 year old is fit and ready to go, it could be former Liverpool forward Andriy Voronin, who faces the axe. Ruslan Rotan is the possible candidate to be the extra man in midfield.
France: Blanc made a call not to risk the fitness of highly rated anchorman Yann M'Vila in the opener against England but since the Rennes star is likely to back to full fitness, he should start ahead of Alou Diarra for this clash. France are otherwise expected to field the same players and the same 4-3-3 formation that played against Roy Hodgson's team, with Florent Malouda set to continue his new role by joining the attack from midfield when going forward and staying back while defending.
Les Blues have enough options to freshen things up if required with Hatem Ben Arfa, Jeremy Menez and Marvin Martin on the bench. Ben Arfa's individual skills, Menez's menacing crosses and Martin's smart passing could offer some variety in the attack. Striker Olivier Giroud and centre-back Laurent Koscielny offer good back-ups in the striking and defending departments as well.
- The victory over Sweden was Ukraine's first win at the Euros
- France allowed England just one shot at goal in the last game
- Ukraine are yet to beat France after six previous meetings
- The last time these two sides met was in a friendly in June 2011. France won 4-1, with a brace from Martin
Ukraine (4-2-3-1): Pyatov; Husyev, Khacheridi, Mykhalyk, Selin; Tymoschchuck, Rotan; Nazarenko, Konoplyanka, Yarmolenko; Shevchenko
France (4-3-3): Lloris; Debuchy, Rami, Mexes, Evra; Cabaye, M'Vila, Malouda; Nasri, Benzema, Ribery
Where to Watch Live:
You can follow the game live from 5 pm BST on iTV 1 and iTV 1 HD, as well as BBC Radio 5 live and the official UEFA Web site. You can also catch highlights on BBC One and the BBC Sport Web site.