Most of the media attention Ukraine has received in the lead-up to Euro 2012 has focused on the country's status as tournament co-hosts. Fears over the behaviour of supporters, threats of racism and there are still question marks over the security in the country.
With less than four days left, Ukraine - ranked 50th in the FIFA World Rankings - will be making their first appearance at the European Championship. Their coach Oleg Blokhin, who took over last April, has insisted on several occasions that he has no illusions about his team's chances.
Victories in friendly matches against Austria, Estonia and Bulgaria will give the side, who qualified automatically as hosts, a major boost, while a 3-3 draw in November against Germany will also offer them good encouragement. Ukraine have been clubbed with likes of England, France and Sweden in Group D and it looks highly unlikely that they will make progress to the next round.
Gone are the days when Andriy Shevchenko was the man of the moment in club football. The ex-AC Milan star striker and former flop Chelsea forward is nearing the end of his career. During Euro 2012, the rest of the Ukrainian national team players may look up to him in the dressing room for his experience but he no more can help his team win single-handedly. And other players like Andriy Voronin and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk will have to turn back the clock to give the co-hosts a chance of progressing.
12:01 PM, Jun 04, 2012