FIFA World Cup finals history
After losing their debut to Spain in 2006, Ukraine recovered to overwhelm Saudi Arabia 4-0, edge Tunisia and book a Round of 16 meeting with Switzerland. The game finished goalless and, despite the usually infallible Andriy Shevchenko missing their first penalty, Oleksandr Shovkovskyi saved two Swiss spot-kicks to help Oleg Blokhin's men reach the quarters. There, they were beaten 3-0 by eventual champions Italy. Ultimately, though, it was a very positive maiden experience on the world stage for the Ukrainians.
The current crop
Blokhin returned to the hot-seat in April 2011, and his team have had mixed results since, with a victory over Uzbekistan preceding a 4-1 defeat by France. In their favour, they are an industrious outfit who never give opponents time or space. Letting them down is a capacity to fall apart once they fall behind. Additionally, they will have to fill the void Andriy Shevchenko's post-UEFA EURO 2012 retirement will leave.
The key players
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, a multifunctional midfielder, is the fulcrum of the Ukraine side. The Bayern Munich veteran is also one Blokhin's few troops who plays his club football outside his homeland. Oleg Husyev is another hard-working member of the engine room, while Artem Milevskiy, whose quick feet belie his tall frame, is always a threat up front.
Current coach: Mikhail Fomenko
Best performance in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 (Quarter-finals)
Former stars: Sergei Rebrov, Oleg Luzhny