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Spain 4 Ukraine 0


ihtd
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Spain v Ukraine 14/06/2006 Leipzig kick-Off-3pm BST

Now for us Englishmen, this match may not be the one we all jumped up and down about when the draw was made, but this WILL be a good match. There's too much talent involved in this match for it to be a poor match. It is fairly likely that the winner of this match will go onto to win the group as the other two teams that make up the group (Tunisia & Saudi Arabia) aren't bad sides but on paper Spain & Ukraine should be too strong for them. The Spanish are 21 game sundefeated but do not let that put you off the fact that they are not playing well and they struggled in the qualification phase to an extent. Their domestic sides took both the big European tropheys, the Uefa Cup & the Champions League with Sevilla & barcelona winning respectively.

Spain

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Country Facts

Population-40.02 million

Capital-Madrid

Country's Officlal Name-Reino de Espana

Currency-Euro

Life Expectnecy At Birth-79.23

Internet Code-.es

World Cup History

1930 Uruguay - n/a

1934 Italy Quarter-final Play-Off

1938 France - n/a

1950 Brazil Fourth place

1954 Switzerland - n/a

1958 Sweden - n/a

1962 Chile Fourth, Group Three

1966 England Third, Group Two

1970 Mexico - n/a

1974 West Germany - n/a

1978 Argentina Third, Group Three

1982 Spain Second Group phase

1986 Mexico Quarter-finals

1990 Italy Second Round (last 16)

1994 U.S.A. Quarter-finals

1998 France Third, Group D

2002 Korea/Japan Quarter-finals

The Manager

Coach-Luis Aragones-began his playing career at Getafe before moving to Real Madrid only to be loaned straight away to Recreativo de Huelva. He later moved to Real Oviedo were he made an impact on the top flight. He later moved to Real Betis and from there finished his career with his beloved Athletico Madrid.

He began his managerial career with Athletico Madrid. He led to them a European Cup Winners Cup title as player manager and once his playing career finally ended he took charge of no fewer than 9 premiera league sides, with three of those being Betis, Valencia and Barcelona.

He is a controversial figure and has found himself in hot ater a few times because of his outbursts.

Coaching Career

International Side:

• Since 2004 Spain

Clubs:

• 1974-1978 Atletico Madrid

• 1978-1979 Atletico Madrid

• 1981 Real Betis

• 1982-1987 Atletico Madrid

• 1987-1988 Barcelona

• 1990-1991 Espanyol

• 1991-1993 Atletico Madrid

• 1993-1995 Sevilla

• 1995-1997 Valencia

• 1997-1998 Real Betis

• 1999-2000 Real Oviedo

• 2000-2001 Mallorca

• 2001-2003 Atletico Madrid

• 2003-2004 Mallorca

Squad

1 CASILLAS Iker (GK)

2 SALGADO Michel

3 DEL HORNO Asier replaced by Mariano Pernia

4 MARCHENA Carlos

5 PUYOL Carlos

6 ALBELDA David

7 RAUL

8 XAVI

9 TORRES Fernando

10 REYES Jose Antonio

11 GARCIA Luis

12 LOPEZ Antonio

13 INIESTA

14 XABI ALONSO

15 RAMOS Sergio

16 MARCOS SENNA

17 JOAQUIN

18 FABREGAS Cesc

19 CANIZARES Santiago (GK)

20 JUANITO

21 VILLA David

22 PABLO

23 REINA Jose Manuel (GK)

Current World Ranking-5

Pre WC-Friendlies

v Ivory Coast-Won 3-2

v Russia-Drew 0-0

v Egypt-Won 2-0

How They Got To Germany 2006

The Spanish didn't make easy work of what looked like an easy group. The Spanish finished second in their group to Serbia & Montenegro due to poor performance against teams like Lithuania as they drew with the Eastern European minnows and held to a score draw against Bosnia & Herzogovina. Had Bosnia not drawn with Spain in the final match and won by 3 goals to nil it would have been the Bosnians and not the Spanish playing in this match, this is how below par the Spaniards played in the qualifying but they have made it and that is the most important point to note here.

Qualification Results including some friendlies

16-Nov-05 SVK:ESP 1:1 (0:0)

12-Nov-05 ESP:SVK 5:1 (2:0)

12-Oct-05 SMR:ESP 0:6 (0:3)

08-Oct-05 BEL:ESP 0:2 (0:0)

07-Sep-05 ESP:SCG 1:1 (1:0)

08-Jun-05 ESP:BIH 1:1 (0:1)

04-Jun-05 ESP:LTU 1:0 (0:0)

30-Mar-05 SCG:ESP 0:0

09-Feb-05 ESP:SMR 5:0 (3:0)

13-Oct-04 LTU:ESP 0:0

09-Oct-04 ESP:BEL 2:0 (0:0)

08-Sep-04 BIH:ESP 1:1 (0:0)

Star Player

Now many people would have expected this to be Raul or Iker Casillas but i have chosen Fernando Torres, simply because he is going to be the player along with Raul that is going to be carrying the hopes and aspirations of their nation. Spain have only opted to take David Villa, Fernando Torres & raul as strikers to the WC and as such Torres needs to play to his potential and if he does that, they'll be few strikers at WC as good as him.

Key Player

Again a lot of people would expect this to be Raul but he is not as good as he used to be. i have chosen Xavi as their key player. Xavi sets the pace of the side, his wide range of passing skills and his hard tackilng(when he's up for it) makes him the Spanish general. All creative play throughout the middle of the park will come from him. Torres & Raul will be looking to Xavi to feed them or feed the ball out to the wings were the Spanish are very strong as they have numerous players who are more than capable of playing in the side.

Xavi has had his injury problems this season but looks to be over them and he should be a player to keep an eye on, even though we all already know how good he is.

Young Player

I was going to put the spotlight on Francesc Fabregas but i have chosen to put it on Sergio Ramos, the Real Madrid centre half. For his National side he plays right back, the same position played at his old club which i believe was Real Mallorca please correct me if i am wrong. A lot of Spanish pundits think he i going to struggle at right back should he start there in place of either Juanito or Salgardo who has been struggling with a knee strain and has been out of sorts all season. Ramos could turn out to be a useful squad player as he cna play at centre half and at right back and should an injury crisis hit them in Germany, in a squad full of midfielders, Sergio could do a good job for them.

Injury Doubts

Xabi Alonso-It is touch and go whether he will be fit for this match

Asier Del Horno-Returned to London injured.

Bookies Odds

15/1

A big problem for the Spanish side is that they do not know what formation to play at the moment. In the last few matches they have swapped starting line-ups for the midfield and are playing different wide players, different central midfielders. Against the Ivory Coast they played to holding midfielders in Fabregas and Albelda leaving Alonso and Xavi out of the starting 11. Torres also hasn't been starting instead, they have been playing David Villa who himself is a top striker and has had a good season in La Liga but he is no Torres. Guillem Ballage on Talksport this afternoon sounds far from impressed with the way they are playing and is not a keen believer in the defensive line-up Aragones is playing.

Ukraine

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Country Facts

Population-48.06 million

Capital-Kiev

Country's Official Name-Ukraynia

Currency-Hryvnia

Life Expectancy At Birth-66.5 years

Internet Code-.ua

World Cup History

2006-First Apperance

The Manager

Coach-Oleg Blokhin-This man is a hero in the Ukraine, not only for getting them to Germany 2006 but because ofhis playing days. he played for Dynamo Kiev and was part of a team that won the league championship for the former USSR no fewer than seven times. He also won two European Cup Winner's Cup medals one of which he won agaist Athletico Madrid in 1986. He also won the award of European Footballer of the Year in 1975 due to his superb performances all over Europe.He scored 42 goals in 112 games for the former USSR. It is often the case that great players, do not make good coaches for a variety of reasons but Oleg Blokhin is the exception to the rule here. He not only got them out of the group of death, he has got them to the World Cup as group winners beating Turkey, European Champions Greece and Denmark along the way. A famous quote in the media by Oleg Blokhin was, "Many people said I was living in cuckoo land when I promised to take Ukraine to the World Cup,", "I know they’re going to scream with derision again, but I believe we’re capable of winning it" He believes his Ukraine side is more than capable of winning it, i personally love the mans optimism but i feel they are not quite there yet to really announce themselves on the world stage...maybe by 2010 they will have enough experience to be a forceful nation.

Coaching Career

International Side:

• Since 2003 Ukraine

Clubs:

• 1990-1993 Olympiacos (GRE)

• 1993-1994 PAOK (GRE).

• 1994-1997 Ionikos (GRE).

• 1997-1998 Chornomorets Odesa (UKR)

• 1998-1999 AEK Athens (GRE)

• 2000-2002 Ionikos (GRE)

Squad

1 SHOVKOVSKIY Oleksandr (GK)

2 NESMACHNIY Andriy

3 IATSENKO Oleksandr

4 TYMOSCHUK Anatoliy

5 YEZERSKIY Vladimir

6 RUSOL Andriy

7 SHEVCHENKO Andriy

8 SHELAYEV Oleg

9 GUSEV Oleg

10 VORONIN Andriy

11 REBROV Serhiy

12 PYATOV Andriy (GK)

13 CHIGRYNSKIY Dmytro

14 GUSIN Andriy

15 MILEVSKIY Artem

16 VOROBEY Andriy

17 VASHCHUK Vladislav

18 NAZARENKO Serhiy

19 KALINICHENKO Maksim

20 BYELIK Oleksiy

21 ROTAN Ruslan

22 SVIDERSKIY Vyacheslav

23 SHUST Bogdan (GK)

Pre World Cup Friendlies

28-May-06 UKR:CRC 4:0 (3:0)

02-Jun-06 ITA:UKR 0:0

Two matches left to play versus Libya & Luxembourg.

Current World Ranking-45

How They Got To Germany

Ukraine found themselves drawn in the group of death along with Denmark, Turkey and European Champions Greece, all of which were more than capable of taking the automatic spot.

The Ukraine didn't get off the best of starts with a draw against minnows Albania and a home defeat to Turkey. At this point nobody even the Ukrainian public didn't give the nation a chance of qualifying out of the group of death but they went on not to lose another match and only conceded four goals in their remaining ten games scoring 10 goals along the way.

Qualification Matches

08-Oct-05 UKR:ALB 2:2 (1:0)

07-Sep-05 UKR:TUR 0:1 (0:0)

03-Sep-05 GEO:UKR 1:1 (0:1)

08-Jun-05 GRE:UKR 0:1 (0:0)

04-Jun-05 UKR:KAZ 2:0 (1:0)

30-Mar-05 UKR:DEN 1:0 (0:0)

09-Feb-05 ALB:UKR 0:2 (0:1)

17-Nov-04 TUR:UKR 0:3 (0:2)

13-Oct-04 UKR:GEO 2:0 (1:0)

09-Oct-04 UKR:GRE 1:1 (0:0)

08-Sep-04 KAZ:UKR 1:2 (1:1)

04-Sep-04 DEN:UKR 1:1 (1:0)

Star Player

It does not take a genuis to work out who this man is. Andriy Shevchenko, number 7. This man has been one of the worlds top strikers over the past 6/7 years and will be playing in his first World Cup. The man has pace, skill and has that little something extra what other strikers do not have what makes hima cut above the rest. the new Chelsea record signing is currently under going rehab for an injury and is a doubt for the match versus Spain. He will be fit for the second group stage match should he not be ready for the Spain game.

Key Player

Sergei Rebrov-The man hated by most Spuds fans for costing them a fortune and delivering so little, but he has transformed his career since leaving the White Potato Lane. He is also an injury doubt for the game versus Spain but it is fairly likely that he will play some part in the match. He currently plays for Dynamo Kiev and is doing well for himself since his career took a nosedive in England. He has made 69 appearances for his country scoring 17 goals.

Young Player

Bohdan Shust-Plays for Dynamo Kiev- aged 19. Shust plays in goal and is currently being scouted by teams in italy as a player for the future. He was heavily linked with Fiorentina in January but they pulled out when Shust said that he wished to play another season for Kiev. He has made two appearances for the Ukrainian national side with one of those coming as substitute. Should he get a game during the World Cup he could be a player to look out, simply just to see if he's as good as some teams in Serie A think he is.

Injury Doubts

Rebrov & Shevchenko are the only injury doubts that Ukraine have.

Bookies Odds

66/1 with William Hill

Ukraine are a good side, it takes a good side to get out of the group that they have gotten out of to make it here to the World Cup and as such i believe that if they play their game of football and make use of Shevchenko, get him the service he needs they will make it out of the group and will be a side that you'd want to avoid. There are many better sides to be worrying about meeting in the World Cup but neglect the Ukraine at your peril.

Prediction

Spain 2-3 Ukraine

I just got a feeling that Spain's lack of formation and settled side will be their downfall and i feel that as long as Rebrov and Shevchenko are fully fit, they will punish a very unsettled Spanish side. Forget the 21 match unbeaten streak that the Spanish are on, they are not prepared for a physical Ukrianian side.

Edited by ihatethedingles
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Looks as though both Shevchenko and Rebrov are going to be fit to start, Spain could find themselves in a bit of trouble defensively if they play the more attacking formation the Spanish fans want them to play. But it looks pretty much nailed on that Arragones will play Albelda in the midfield and dissapoint many of panish fans by leaving Xabi Alonso and Jaoquin on the bench.

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Looks as though both Shevchenko and Rebrov are going to be fit to start, Spain could find themselves in a bit of trouble defensively if they play the more attacking formation the Spanish fans want them to play. But it looks pretty much nailed on that Arragones will play Albelda in the midfield and dissapoint many of panish fans by leaving Xabi Alonso and Jaoquin on the bench.

The bench is the best place for Joaquin, yet another over-rated Spaniard.

Ukraine to win 2 - 0.

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You are brave, Mr.Aragones. (a racist, but brave still!)

I really like his starting eleven tonight. No Salgado, no Raul, no Joaquin - and he's got Marcus Senna in midfield! The defence looks better without the Cafu-wannabe Michel Salgado (I rate him, but like the two Brazilians he exposes the team too much), whilst Senna provides some extra bite in midfield, giving exquisite passers Xavi and Alonso more space! Torres and Villa looks like a good duo up front with the lively Garcia, and even though Raul isn't in his best form, he'll probably come on to end a game in Spain's favour somewhere in this World Cup :)

Game over, 4-0, impressive win.

Edited by herbergeehh
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thank you

What is a Gazsimm? A bleedin' clairvoyant, that's what!

Not even Villa and Torres' mums would have predicted that one. Mind you, Ukraine were dreadful. My 0 - 2 was just wishful thinking. Now I'll have Marca, AS, the whole world and his perro telling me that Spain will make history and win the world cup by playing beautiful footy and winning every game a trillion - nil.

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