FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Ukraine made their one and only appearance at the finals since independence at Germany 2006, where Oleg Blohkin's debutants battled through to the quarter-finals, beating Tunisia and Saudi Arabia before defeating Switzerland on penalties. Eventual winners Italy sent them home that year, while only a miraculous play-off recovery by France denied them a spot at Brazil 2014.

The team
A squad that is renowned for its solidity and steadfast defence, Ukrainian fans rarely have to worry about suffering a heavy defeat, but goals do not always flow at the other end. The wide threats of Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka have caused many sides trouble, but with captain Anatoliy Tymoschuk nearing the end of his career, they will likely be in need of a new figurehead to lead them to Russia.

The coach
For followers of European football for the last 15 years or so, Andriy Shevchenko hardly needs an introduction. The legendary forward was an unstoppable force for Dynamo Kyiv in the mid-to-late 1990s, before dominating Italian football with AC Milan, with whom he won the UEFA Champions League and claimed a Ballon d'Or. Ukraine's all-time top goalscorer was handed the reins to the top job in July 2016, replacing Mykhaylo Fomenko, after working as his assistant during UEFA EURO 2016.

The stat
26 –
Shevchenko is the all-time top scoring European in World Cup qualifying with 26 goals.

The former stars
Oleg Blokhin, Igor Belanov, Andriy Shevchenko, Serhiy Rebov, Oleksandr Shovkovskyi