ANDRIY SHEVCHENKO hopes unfancied Ukraine can repeat the Euros feat he achieved as a player against Sweden nine years ago.
In 2012 the then Dynamo Kyiv striker inspired his side to come back from 1-0 down to beat the Scandinavians 2-1 in a thrilling group stage clash.
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Shevchenko’s aces – currently the 24th best team in the world – have lost seven of their last eight games played at the tournament.
Tonight they will face a defensively tough Sweden side – who finished top of their group conceding only twice in their three opening Euros matches.
The clash will kick-off at 8pm tonight at the Hampden Park home of Scotland with a quarter-final duel with England or Germany at stake.
And the game is available to watch from 8pm onwards on BBC1 and BBC iPlayer.
What’s the form?
Janne Andersson’s players have lost just two of their past 10 international games
Those losses were 3-0 and 4-2 Nations League defeats to Portugal and France in October and November 2020.
And this evening’s clash will be only the third time Sweden have reached the knockout stages of the Euros with the Netherlands dispatching them at the quarter-finals of the 2004 edition.
Meanwhile, a win against North Macedonia for Ukraine was enough to see the Blue and Yellows reach the last-16 after finishing third in their group behind the Netherlands and Austria.
And Shevchenko’s men will hope for an improved defensive display against the Swedes with the team having conceded five goals in their group stage matches.
However Andersson says Sweden will not be taking their opponents lightly, particularly in terms of their transition play.
He said: “They are a good team; they know how to switch from defence to attack.
“They looked worn out against Austria, but like us they’ve had some rest – even more actually.”
Who’s in and who’s out
Juventus winger Dejan Kulusevski will be targeting a place in Sweden’s starting 11 after registering notching up two assists during his substitute appearance against Poland.
Forward Emil Fosberg is reported to be fit and available after missing training on Saturday.
And Marcus Berg could be set to make his return to Sweden’s front line alongside Real Sociedad starlet Alexander Isak, with Robin Quaison likely to return to the bench.
Meanwhile, Viktor Tsyhankov and Oleksandr Zubkov are both reportedly struggling with calf issues which could leave Ukraine depleted on the left side of their attack.
Shevchenko said: “We have travelled a long way to be here. We have achieved the result we wanted and have nothing to lose now.
“Everything else will be a big bonus for us. I think we played a good group stage.
“We played well against the Dutch and we put in a good performance against North Macedonia. Austria were very strong opponents.
“But Sweden are well prepared tactically and have good individual players.”
Watch out for…….
Alexander Isak. The rising LaLiga starlet, whose parents hail from East African nation Eritrea, has been making waves in Sweden’s attack.
And the 6ft 4in forward’s performances have reportedly seen him emerge as a £60million Arsenal target.
His tournament highlights included setting up a quality chance for Marcus Berg to net against Spain only for the forward to somehow miss the sitter.
Isak, 21, has enjoyed a fine season up top for Real Sociedad netting 17 goals in 34 LaLiga appearances for the club.
If the game is rubbish….
Vlada Sedan will be backing Ukraine and her husband Oleksandr Zinchenko to reach the Euros quarter-finals.
The TV sports reporter, 25 married Man City player Zinchenko last year,
The Etihad star popped the question on the pitch of Olympic Stadium in Kiev following Ukraine’s qualification for the Euros.
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