WARSAW, June 19 — The Donetsk jinx hanging over Ukraine will forever be forgotten if the Euro 2012 co-hosts can beat England at the Donbass Arena after four failed attempts.
They may well have to do so without national hero Andriy Shevchenko, scorer of two goals in their win over Sweden, after the 48-goal striker was rated as "50-50" by coach Oleg Blokhin due to a knee injury.
Blokhin has said all sorts of quirky things during the tournament so England will not be fooled and will be lifted by the return of their own spearhead Wayne Rooney after suspension as they seek the point they need to advance.
The last time the teams met Ukraine ran out winners at home in a World Cup qualifier, so the prospect of victory is not too remote and will keep fans hopeful that at least one of the co-hosts will make the knockout stages after Poland's failure.
Group D leaders France, on four points, face eliminated Sweden in Kiev at the same time knowing victory would probably hand them a quarter-final against Italy, also in Kiev.
France, into their stride after dismantling Ukraine in the last match, should beat eliminated Sweden side who have not beaten the 1998 World Cup winners in more than 40 years. — Reuters