The past
Ukraine are relative newcomers to this discipline, having achieved their best results in recent years. Prior to Ravenna/Italy 2011, the team had only qualified for one FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. At Rio de Janeiro 2005, the men in yellow progressed from the opening round at the first attempt, reaching the quarter-finals where they were ousted 5-3 by eventual finalists Portugal. Nevertheless the Ukrainians have already savoured the taste of trophy success in a major tournament, having won the Euro Beach Soccer Cup 2007.

The present
Hats off to coach Sergiy Kucherenko and his charges for their impressive display at the European qualifying tournament for Ravenna/Italy 2011, where they were a cut above the other 26 competing teams. The Ukrainians laid on an awesome show of strength, topping their group ahead of Switzerland before charging all the way to the final where they deservedly got the better of Portugal, one of the game’s dominant forces.

The future
In theory this eastern European outfit are under no real pressure to perform. Nevertheless, given the team’s overall strength and their exceptional form shown in 2011, Ukraine arrive in Ravenna with lofty ambitions, a proven game plan and a tight-knit group that makes up for in solidity what it arguably lacks in out-and-out match-winners. In short, they are a team that fear no one.

Former stars
Oleksandr Pylypenko, Dmytro Koryenyev, Sergei Bozhenko.

Key players
Andriy Borsuk, Maksim Nazarenko, Oleksandr Korniychuk

Qualifying statistics
Ukraine clinched the UEFA continental crown with six victories and one defeat, netting 33 goals and conceding 22.

The numbers game
8 - The most goals scored in a single match by Ukraine in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, against South Africa on 9 May 2005.