Euro 2012 preview: Ukraine v France

Can Michel Platini be France's secret weapon? Group D, Donetsk, kick-off 5pm (coverage starts 4:30pm ITV1)

Ukraine currently top Group D, having beaten Sweden in their first game thanks to some individual brilliance from captain Andriy Shevchenko. At 35, he became the oldest player to score two goals in a World Cup or European Championship match since Cameroon’s Roger Milla at Italia ’90, aged 72.


France, meanwhile, were held to a 1-1 draw by Roy Hodgson’s brave boys (that’s England), managing to convert only one of their 15 shots on target. Whether Ukraine’s slowish central defence can stand up to a similar onslaught remains to be seen, but if they can force a draw and extend France’s run of eight games without a win at major tournaments, the co-hosts will have a great shot at qualifying for the knock-out stages.

SECRET WEAPON: Michel Platini. France coach Laurent Blanc must have been on the vin rouge when he named his squad for Euro 2012 because he failed to include either Michel Platini or Zinedine Zidane. Yes, they’re both getting on a bit, but amazingly France have never won a European Championship game without one of them in the team. Luckily, Platini is Uefa president, so if France look to be struggling he can just change the rules and bring himself on…. 

ONE TO WATCH: Andriy Pyatov is Ukraine’s fourth-choice keeper, having replaced two Olexandrs and another Andriy following a brace of injuries and a doping ban. Pyatov looked solid enough against Sweden, but with forwards like Samir Nasri and Karim Benzema, France could be a different proposition.


PREDICTION: If Shevchenko has another night like he did against Sweden: 2-2. If not: 2-0 to France.