Match preview: sizing up Sweden versus Ukraine

The Local's Joe Lynskey takes a look at what Sweden can expect as they kick off their Euro 2012 Group in Kiev against co-hosts Ukraine on Monday night.

Match preview: sizing up Sweden versus Ukraine

Sweden will have to overcome home advantage as they kick-off their Euro 2012 campaign in Kiev against a Ukrainian side that will doubtless be backed by a raucous and expectant set of supporters.

The co-hosts are a side missing their experienced goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovsky, as well as key defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy.

Sweden will feel there will be plenty of areas for them to exploit, particularly if they can deal with the threat posed by Ukraine’s veteran talisman, Andriy Shevchenko.

The 35-year old was once the most feared striker in Europe, with Chelsea paying €43 million for him in 2006. However, after Shevchenko suffered several back injuries this season, Swedish defenders Olaf Mellberg and Andreas Granqvist will feel more confident of keeping the former Milan star quiet.

The Local took to Medborgarplatsen to ask Stockholmers about Sweden’s hopes for Euro 2012

With automatic qualification to the tournament assured for the co-hosts, Ukraine have prepared for the tournament with a series of friendly games over the last year with generally disappointing results, including a 4-1 loss to France in Kiev.

Sweden have faced their opponents only 3 times previously, with their first meeting in 2008. They will certainly take confidence, however, from the 1-0 win they achieved in Kiev last August.

A 90th minute goal from Tobias Hysen was enough to give Sweden the win in the friendly game.

Monday night’s game promises to be a much more competitive and tense affair, however, with both teams perhaps seeing this as their most winnable fixture in the group stage, compared with games against France and England to come for both.

Sweden may feel that if they can deal with the atmosphere of the capacity home crowd, they will be able to deal with their opponents on the pitch.

A good result is crucial, however, if Erik Hamren’s men are to take some momentum into the rest of the tournament.

Time: Monday, June 11th, 8.45pm CET

Place: Kiev, Ukraine

Broadcast: SVT 1 (in Sweden)

Joe Lynskey

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Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have met the Ukrainian president in Kyiv, after the trio travelled overnight by train from Poland.

Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Ukrainian president in Kyiv

The three leaders left in the early hours of Thursday, arriving into Kyiv on Thursday morning. After a visit to the heavily-bombed town of Irpin, they met Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

It is the first time that the leaders of the three European Union countries have visited Kyiv since Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, and the visit comes as Kyiv is pushing for membership of the EU.

Macron has been paying a two-day visit to Romania and Moldova to discuss the ongoing crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There had been widespread speculation in France that he would combine the trip with a visit to Zelensky in Ukraine, but this was not confirmed until Thursday morning.

In a joint press conference with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis, Macron reiterated his desire that Ukraine should win the war, but added that eventually negotiations between Ukraine and Russia will be necessary.