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Ukraine on Verge of Second World Cup Appearance

16. November 2009 by James 0 Comments

Just win baby!  That is all Ukraine has to do. After a 0-0 draw in Athens Olympic Stadium on Saturday, Ukraine is hoping that the second game with Greece will propel them into the World Cup.

Both Greece and Ukraine had good chances but they did not connect on any of them making Wednesday’s game in Donetsk the most important game of the year for both teams.

“We now have a slight advantage because we are playing at home,” Ukraine coach Olexiy Mikhailichenko told reporters at the post-game press conference. We tried to play on the counter attack and our game plan was effective. We now have to sit down and analyze the game to see how we will approach the return.”

Both teams played a spirited up tempo game. With multiple shots on goal in the first half. Ukraine registered the first shot on goal when Andriv Shevchenko blasted a low free kick from about 30 yard from goal which Greek goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas stopped. Then Giorgos Karagounis responded with a strike which was gobbled up by Ukrainian goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.

It looked as if the home side would have an early lead when after 16 minutes when Gekas took a cross from Dimitris Salpigidis cross and put it in the back of the net but the assistant referee had raised his flag for offside.

“Ukraine were very effective with their passing combinations and their attacking players were very good,” remarked Greece coach Otto Rehhagel. The German mastermind behind Greece’s Euro 2004 victory added, “If we had conceded a goal it would have made things extremely difficult for us. I think we scored a perfectly valid goal but the referee disallowed it and we are disappointed.”

A victory on Wednesday night would give Ukraine its second consecutive trip to the World Cup since its independence from the former Soviet Union.  While a victory by the Greeks would give them their first appearance at the World Cup since the 1994 tournament hosted in the United States.