Blokhin: The EURO is special for me
"Last year's friendly matches against Germany and Austria showed that we're on the right track," Blokhin told AFP. "The match with Germany was our most memorable game in 2011, as we managed to score three goals against one of the world's best teams. I'm confident we will be able to field a competitive team at EURO 2012."
However, days before Ukraine's first friendly of 2012 in Israel, Blokhin expressed his growing concern with his team's personnel problems as they are missing several first-choice players for the game.
"The match in Israel will give us a chance to see many of the candidates in action," he said. "After this important test we will get more information about our players, their conditions and the state of our team's lines."
Blokhin admitted he is worried with injuries to several leading players in defence and attack, with fullback Dmytro Chygrynsky and forward Andriy Shevchenko out of the Israel encounter.
"We have certain problems in defence ahead of the match with Israel," said the Ukraine coach. "Meanwhile, our attack is also in trouble as only Marko Devic is currently on top form."
Nevertheless, Blokhin remains positive about the co-hosts chances at the European finals. "After the end of Ukraine's league season, all of our players will have a week off," he said. "After that we will be practicing in the training camps in Turkey and Austria and will return home just before the EURO kick-off.
"This tournament is very important for all of us, and very special for me personally as I never played at the European Championship during my playing career. So I want to catch up as a coach."
"We all will do our best to make our fans happy. I hope the EURO will be remembered in Ukraine not only for the fantastic development in our sport and general infrastructure, but also for the successful performance of our team."