Ukraine national football team
The Ukraine national football team represents Ukraine in men's international football competitions and it is governed by the Ukrainian Association of Football, the governing body for football in Ukraine. Ukraine's home ground is the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv. The team has been a full member of UEFA and FIFA since 1992.
After Ukrainian Independence and the country's breakaway from the Soviet Union, they played their first match against Hungary on 29 April 1992. The team's biggest success on the world stage was reaching the quarter-finals in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which also marked the team's debut in the finals of a major championship.
As the host nation, Ukraine automatically qualified for UEFA Euro 2012. Four years later, Ukraine qualified for Euro 2016 via the play-off route, the first time qualifying for a UEFA European Championship via the qualifying process, as they finished in third place in their qualifying group. This marked the first time in Ukraine's five play-off appearances that it managed to win such a tie, previously having been unsuccessful in the play-off ties for the Euro 2000, 2002 World Cup, 2010 World Cup and 2014 World Cup.
Ukraine is seen as a specific case of being a successful youth football power in Europe and the world, yet fails to deliver the same taste at senior stage. The U-20 team of Ukraine has been the current reigning world champions at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, while the U-21 team had won silver medal in the 2006 UEFA European Under-21 Championship; however in spite of this rich record in youth stage, the senior side didn't achieve the same level of achievement. While the Ukrainian senior side managed to reach the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup, the team had failed to enter the knockout stages in Euro 2012 and Euro 2016, and never returned to the World Cup since.
Pre-independence (1925–1935)Officially the national team of Ukraine, the national team was formed in the early 1990s and shortly after was recognized internationally. It is not widely known, however, that Ukraine previously had a national team in 1925–1935. Just like the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic had its own national team.
The earliest record of games it played can be traced back to August 1928. A championship among the national teams of the Soviet republics as well as the Moscow city team was planned to take place in Moscow. Just before the tournament started, the Ukraine national team played two exhibition games against the Red Sports Federation team from Uruguay, one in Kharkiv and the other in Moscow. At the All-Soviet tournament, Ukraine played three games and reached the final where it lost to Moscow 0–1. Along the way, Ukraine managed to defeat the national teams of Belarus and Transcaucasus.
In 1929, Ukraine beat the team of Lower Austria in an exhibition match in Kharkiv, recording a score of 4–1.
In 1931, Ukraine participated in another All-Soviet championship in Moscow. It played only one game, starting from the semifinals. Ukraine lost to the national team of Transcaucasus 0–3 and was eliminated.
In 1986, Ukraine became a winner of association football tournament of the Spartakiad of Peoples of the USSR that was hosted in Ukraine when in final it beat the team of Uzbekistan.
Official formationPrior to Independence in 1991, Ukrainian players represented the Soviet Union national team. After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Russia took the place of the Soviet Union national team in the qualifying tournament for the 1994 World Cup. The national team of Ukraine did not manage to enter the 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification. Meanwhile, some of the best Ukrainian players of the beginning of the 1990s chose to play for Russia, as it was named the official successor of the Soviet Union. At that time Vyacheslav Koloskov was the only top official from the former Soviet Union and later the Russia who served as a vice-president of UEFA in 1980–1996 and represented all of members of the Soviet Union and later the Commonwealth of Independent States.
, was Head Coach of the National Team in 1979 and between 2001 and 2002
The Soviet Union's five-year UEFA coefficient, despite being earned in part by Ukrainian players, were transferred to the direct descendant of the Soviet national team – the Russia national team. As a result, a crisis was created for both the national team and the domestic league. When Ukraine returned to international football in late 1994, it did so as absolute beginners.
Another reason for the occurred harsh crisis in the Ukrainian football was lack of adequate funding of teams. This is understandable in terms of the general economic crisis that has affected all of the CIS countries. Yet even in contrast with Russia, the Ukrainian teams looked very poor. However, there also was a reverse influx of some top class players. Viktor Leonenko agreed on transfer from Dynamo Moscow to Dynamo Kyiv. The Russian club did not want to release him, but Leonenko did not want to continue to play in Moscow. During his first six months in Kyiv Viktor was forced to miss due to the FIFA disqualification.
In the following years, the Ukrainian team improved, showcasing talents like Andriy Shevchenko, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Serhiy Rebrov and Oleksandr Shovkovskiy. Ukraine, however, failed to qualify for any major tournaments prior to 2006.
First official games (Prokopenko)Soon after being accepted to FIFA and UEFA as a full member in 1992, Ukraine started its preparation for its first game. At first the head coach of the team was planned to be Valeriy Lobanovskyi, but at that time he had a current contract with the United Arab Emirates. Thus, the first manager of the team had to be chosen among members of a coaching council which consisted of Anatoliy Puzach, Yevhen Kucherevskyi, Yevhen Lemeshko, Yukhym Shkolnykov and Viktor Prokopenko. Later, they were joined by a native of Donetsk Valeriy Yaremchenko. At the end a circle of candidates narrowed down only to three names: Puzach, Yaremchenko and Prokopenko, the latter who eventually became the head coach.
, the first manager of the national team
For the first game of the team it was agreed to play against Hungary on 22 April 1992 in Kyiv at the Republican Stadium. Due to financial issues, however, it was rearranged to 29 April and moved to the border with Hungary in Uzhhorod at the Avanhard Stadium. There was almost no preparation to the game as all "pioneers" gathered in Kyiv on 27 April and the next day flew out to Uzhhorod. At the same time, the opponent, while failing to qualify for the Euro 1992, was preparing for 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification. Ukraine at that time failed to be accepted for the qualification cycle.
Unlike the Hungarian squad, players of which played alongside before and were coached by the European Cup-winning coach Emerich Jenei, the Ukrainian team lost some its better and experienced players to the CIS national football team that was playing its own friendly against the England national football team in Moscow. Among those were Andrei Kanchelskis, Volodymyr Lyutyi, Sergei Yuran, Viktor Onopko, Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko and Akhrik Tsveiba. For the game against Hungary, only Ivan Hetsko and Oleh Luzhny had previous experience of playing at international level; other players had only played for the Soviet Olympic football team, while Serhiy Kovalets played for Ukraine at the Spartakiad of People of the USSR in 1986.
The first home game was lost 1–3 with Ivan Hetsko becoming the first goalscorer in the history of national team. During the summer of 1992 Prokopenko's team played two more away games on 27 June against the United States and on 26 August against Hungary. After the second loss to Hungary Prokopenko resigned. Leading in its game against Hungary, Ukraine conceded two goals in the final 10 minutes.
To the scheduled against Belarus in Minsk in the fall, Ukraine had left with Prokopenko's assistants Mykola Pavlov and Leonid Tkachenko. At the Dinamo Stadium, Ukraine managed to salvage a game by tying one a piece with a goal from Yuriy Maksymov.
Euro 96 qualification (Bazylevych)Ukraine, having already suffered from a lack of good players, lost two promising young players during the winter intermission : Stepan Betsa and Oleksiy Sasko, who perished in a car accident. Unable to secure a contract with Valeriy Lobanovskyi, Ukraine appointed another head coach, former forward of Dynamo Kyiv Oleh Bazylevych. He made his debut with the national team in the spring of 1993 in Odessa during a friendly against Israel. Their expected win was cancelled out in a 1–1 draw just 10 minutes before the end by Serhiy Konovalov. Less than a month later Ukraine finally celebrated its first victory in Vilnius in an away friendly against Lithuania that resulted in a 1–2 win. During the summer they played one away game against Croatia, losing 3–1, with a goal scored Andriy Husin and one of the Croatian goals scored by Davor Šuker. In October 1993, Ukraine went on their first tour to the United States where they played three games against the US and Mexico. Their game against Mexico in San Diego, resulting in a 1–2 loss, was attended by over 50,000 spectators. During the winter break Ukraine was seeded in Group 4 of the UEFA Euro 1996 qualification.
In March 1994, Ukraine paid Israel a visit, but lost the game with a single penalty kick. Next there was a home game against Belarus where Ukraine finally won 3-1 after coming from behind at half-time. Just before their first official international competition game which was scheduled to be played against Lithuania at home, they played couple of away games against Bulgaria and the United Arab Emirates which both ended in a 1–1 draw. Another tour was scheduled right afterwards to Lithuania and Korea, the national coached by Kyivan Anatoliy Byshovets. The opening game on 7 September against Lithuania, considering their last encounter, was expected to end positively, which however resulted in a 0–2 defeat. Both goals were scored within a couple of minutes in the middle of the second half by Hamburger SV striker Valdas Ivanauskas. The national team headed off to Korea without Bazylevych and his assistants whom were Mykola Pavlov and Vladimir Muntyan. Ukraine played two games and lost both. On 20 September 1994, Oleh Bazylevych was highly criticized at the federation's coaching meeting but was to be kept in position at the next meeting of the FFU Executive Committee a few days later. However, the following day Bazylevych resigned accusing Bannikov of being tactless. On 24 September 1994, the Football Federation of Ukraine appointed Yozhef Sabo as an acting head coach until the end of the year.
served as one of temporary managers until appointed of Lobanovsky
Following the change of coach, the national team level took a while to improve. Their next home game against Slovenia ended goalless. After missing to obtain their first recent victory, Ukraine fell to bottom of the tournament table just above Estonian, whom they played their next home match against in mid-November, which they needed to win to keep any hopes of qualification alive. The Estonians, who were unable to field their best team, hoped to repeat the Slovenian effort a month earlier. The game resulted in a 3–0 win. Serhiy Konovalov scored their first goal at competition level for the national team. Sabo left his post after the game. and the FFU confirmed Anatoliy Konkov as the new head coach on 5 January 1995.
, head coach at the first World Cub 2006 participation
In order to save situation and prepare for upcoming games against Italy and Croatia, Konkov conducted training camp at a sports base in Stubenberg, Styria near the Castle Schielleiten from 16 to 23 March 1995. According to the new head coach the set program of training camp was accomplished successfully. Their away game to Croatia ended in a 0–4 loss in Zagreb, followed by a 0–2 defeat to three times World champions Italy at the Olympic Stadium.
2006 FIFA World CupAfter an unsuccessful Euro 2004 qualifying campaign, Ukraine appointed Oleg Blokhin as the national team's head coach. Despite initial skepticism about his appointment due to his previous somewhat undistinguished coaching record and general public calls for a foreign coach, Ukraine went on to qualify for their first-ever FIFA World Cup on 3 September 2005 after drawing 1–1 against Georgia in Tbilisi. In their first World Cup, in 2006, they were in the Group H together with Spain, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. After losing 0–4 in the first match against Spain, the Ukrainians beat their other two opponents to reach the knock-out stage.
In the round of 16, Ukraine played against the winner of Group G, Switzerland, who they beat on penalties. In the quarter-finals, they were beaten 0–3 by eventual champions Italy.
UEFA Euro 2012As co-hosts, Ukraine qualified automatically for Euro 2012, marking their debut in the UEFA European Championship. In their opening game against Sweden, Ukraine won 2–1 in Kyiv. Despite the team's efforts, however, Ukraine was eliminated after a 0–2 loss to France and a 0–1 loss to England, both in Donetsk.
2014 World Cup qualification – UEFA Group H
Euro 2016In the Euro 2016 qualifying round, Ukraine were drawn against Spain, Slovakia, Belarus, Macedonia and Luxembourg. The Zbirna was expected to qualify for the tournament as runners-up of the group behind Spain but, despite having won all their other matches, they finished third due to poor results against Spain and Slovakia. They therefore had to face Slovenia in the play-off route ; they recorded a 2–0 win at Lviv before forging a 1–1 draw at the very end of the second game.
Ukraine convincingly won all of their preparation friendlies against Cyprus, Wales, Romania and Albania. At club level, FC Dnipro had recently reached the UEFA Europa League final in 2015, while Shakhtar Donetsk had progressed to the semi-finals one year later, as the Ukrainian clubs succeeded in sending one participant to the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League two times in a row. Having been drawn against world champions Germany, Slavic neighbors Poland and first-time Euro participants Northern Ireland, the Ukrainian team was expected to advance at least to the next round.
The tournament however, turned into a dreadful upset. Ukraine lost all of their three games, while also failing to score a single goal. Their first match resulted in a 2–0 loss to Germany, despite good resistance and great chances during an entertaining first half, they eventually came close to levelling the score but were caught on the counterattack at the very end of the game. This was followed by a second 2–0 loss to Northern Ireland, with a goal once again conceded in injury time. The Ukrainian media mainly criticized coach Mykhaylo Fomenko's perceived inadequate psychological preparation of the squad as much as predictable tactics which were judged as easy to break down. Ukrainians stars Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka's under-performance was also mentioned. Ukraine at this stage were the first team eliminated from the competition and lost their last game to Poland 1–0.Iceland and an away draw to Turkey. This was followed by two home wins, 3–0 against Kosovo and 1–0 against Finland. Despite a 1–0 away loss to Croatia, they beat Finland 1–2 away and Turkey 2–0 at home. This was followed by a 2–0 away loss to Iceland and a 0–2 away win against Kosovo. Going to the last game, Ukraine stood a strong chance of qualifying for the tournament, but after a 0–2 home loss to Croatia, they failed to qualify for the play-offs for their first time. In their last game against Croatia, controversies rose when Ukrainian and Croatian supporters shared solidarity and chanted Russophobic chants as for the result of Russian aggression in Ukraine.
2018–19 UEFA Nations LeagueUkraine was drawn with the Czech Republic and Slovakia in League B. They beat the Czech Republic 1–2 away and Slovakia 1–0 at home, before earning a promotion with a 1–0 home win to the Czech Republic, before ending with a heavy 4–1 away loss to Slovakia.
UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying – UEFA Group BUkraine were placed in a tough group with Euro 2016 title holders Portugal, and Serbia—a side with personnel playing for multiple prominent club teams. According to many sports analysts, Ukraine were tipped to finish third in the group. The first match proved to be the most difficult match—an away game against Portugal. With the well-known centre-back Yaroslav Rakytskiy absent due to his controversial move to Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg and the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to the Portuguese lineup after an absent Nations League, the Portuguese were favoured to win by a comfortable margin. However, contrary to popular prediction, Andriy Shevchenko's side proved to be very stubborn. Although the Portuguese controlled the majority of the game's possession, they could not find the back of the net. A heroic showing from goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov as well as persistent marking of Cristiano Ronaldo and the Portuguese attack by Ukraine's defense earned Ukraine a valuable point in Lisbon. The match ended with a 0-0 scoreline.
The second game was away to supposed minnows of the group, Luxembourg. However, this match proved to be an absolute nightmare for the Ukrainians. After struggling to come up with inventive attacks, a very lacklustre Ukrainian side found themselves down 1-0 thanks to a goal from David Turpel, aided by very disorganized defending on the part of the Ukrainians. Right before the end of the first half, Ukraine did find an equalizer through Viktor Tsyhankov. Ukraine struggled to create any meaningful opportunities in a stressful second half. However, with literally the last kick of the ball in stoppage time, Ukraine found themselves extremely lucky and unlikely 2-1 winners when Gerson Rodrigues of Luxembourg headed the ball into his own goal. Therefore, after the first two matchdays, Ukraine found themselves top of the group with 4 points after Portugal and Serbia played a 1-1 match in Lisbon on the same day.
Matchday 3 came with a stiff test—a home match against a well-rounded and versatile Serbian squad boasting many experienced and skillful players from multiple world-renowned clubs. While it was expected to be a reasonably close match, it could not have been more of a rout. What appeared to be a well balanced and close affair within the opening exchanges of the first half quickly changed when Viktor Tsyhankov scored the opening goal in the 26th minute of play. The second goal was scored from a thunderous strike from long range less than two minutes later. Ukraine went on to win the match 5–0 with Roman Yaremchuk achieving his first ever international goal and Konoplyanka helping himself to two goals. At this point, with positive results against the two supposedly strongest opponents in the groups, Ukraine looked as though they could secure a top two finish and avoid the play-offs.
After another stiff contest with Luxembourg, Ukraine managed to secure a 1–0 victory only three days after their triumph over Serbia. The goal came in the 6th minute from Roman Yaremchuk. Two matches—away and home against Lithuania saw Ukraine with 16 points and in need of only a point against Fernando Santos's Portuguese side, who at this point were crowned UEFA Nations League Champions.
The match against Portugal was expected to be an interesting test for Shevchenko's men, who had not lost a single match in qualifying and had only conceded once. Ukraine started brightly with noticeably more attacking intent than in the previous meeting between these two teams. Indeed, their pressure paid off when Roman Yaremchuk scored from close range after an initial save from Rui Patricio on 6 minutes. In the 27th minute, Ukraine doubled their advantage with a Yarmolenko goal. After building this comfortable lead, Ukraine began to sit back and defend as they did in Lisbon on matchday one. Portugal was once again unable to crack Ukraine's defense. However, in the 72nd minute, Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded a penalty kick from a supposed hand-ball by Taras Stepanenko as he blocked the ball from a Portuguese shot. While VAR was not an option, replays showed that this was an incorrect call from the referee, as the ball was blocked by Stepanenko's leg, before making contact with his arm as it deflected into the air. This incident also resulted in a red card for Stepanenko. Thus, Ukraine had to play the rest of the match with ten men. Ronaldo scored from the spot, giving Portugal a glimmer of hope to rescue the game and earn a valid point in Kyiv. However, it wasn't to be Portugal's night. Ukraine won 2-1 and subsequently won the group.
The last match was played in Belgrade against Serbia. Because Ukraine had already qualified and won the group, Shevchenko decided to field a team with a few less experienced players. Serbia on the other hand, had to win for any hopes of automatic qualification. Serbia took the lead early through a Dušan Tadić penalty kick. After controlling the majority of the match after falling behind, Ukraine found an equaliser through the inevitable Yaremchuk. Serbia took control of the second half and restored their lead thanks to a beautiful Alexander Mitrović finish. Serbia continued to search for another goal with multiple chances. However, in the last minute of stoppage time, Yarmolenko sent a low cross across the Serbian goal which was received by Artem Biesiedin and finished into the bottom corner. The match ended 2-2 and Ukraine accomplished a successful qualification campaign without a single loss. With Portugal beating Luxembourg 2–0, Serbia's hopes of direct qualification were shot.
2020–21 UEFA Nations LeagueUkraine was drawn with the Switzerland, Spain, and Germany in League A.
StadiumsThe most important matches of the Ukrainian national team are held in Kyiv's Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, also home of Dynamo Kyiv. New infrastructure and stadiums were built in preparation for Euro 2012, and other venues include stadiums in the cities of Donetsk, Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipro, Odesa. The alternative stadiums are: Metalist Stadium, Arena Lviv, Dnipro-Arena, and Chornomorets Stadium.
During the Soviet time era, only two stadiums in Ukraine were used in official games, the Olimpiysky NSC in Kyiv and the Lokomotiv Stadium in Simferopol.
Results and FixturesThe following matches were played or are scheduled to be played by the national team in the current or upcoming seasons.
Most capped players
''Players in bold are still active, at least at club level.
|#||Player||Period||Captain Caps||Total Caps|
ManagersLast updated on 17 November 2019.
|Manager||Nation||Ukraine career||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||GF||GA||Win %||Qualifying cycle||Final tour|
|Yozhef Sabo||1996–1999||32||15||11||6||44||26||1998, 2000|
|Oleg Blokhin||2003–2007||46||21||14||11||65||40||2006, 2008||2006|
|Mykhaylo Fomenko||2012–2016||37||24||6||7||67||22||2014, 2016||2016|
|Andriy Shevchenko||2016–||33||19||9||5||50||26||2018, 2020|
Coaching staffCurrently approved:
|Head Coach||Andriy Shevchenko|
|Assistant Coaches|| Mauro Tassotti |
|Goalkeeping Coach||Pedro Luis Jaro|
|Fitness Coaches|| Vitaliy Kulyba|
Current squadThe following players were called up for friendly matches against and on 27 and 31 March 2020 respectively. The call-ups were withdrawn after the matches were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Players' records are accurate as of 17 November 2019 after the match against Serbia.
Recent call-upsThe following players have been called up for the team within the last 12 months.
- INJ = Injured.
- WD = Withdrew.
- PRE = Preliminary squad.
- RET = Retired from the national team.
- SUS = Suspended for the next match.
- U21 = Joined the Ukraine national under-21 team instead.
- ALT = Alternate - replaces a member of the squad in case of injury/unavailability
- 2006 FIFA World Cup squads – Ukraine
- UEFA Euro 2012 squads – Ukraine
- UEFA Euro 2016 squads – Ukraine
FIFA World CupChampions Runners-up Third place Fourth place
UEFA European ChampionshipChampions Runners-up Third place Fourth place
UEFA Nations League
All-time team recordThe following table shows Ukraine's all-time international record, correct as of 17 November 2019.
Home venues recordSince Ukraine's first fixture they have played their home games at 11 different stadiums.
FIFA Ranking history
Kits and sponsors
Kit history and evolutionOn 29 March 2010, Ukraine debuted a new Adidas kit. This replaced the Adidas kit with a yellow base and the traditional Adidas three stripe with a snake sash which was used in 2009.
Prior to 5 February 2009 Ukraine wore a Lotto kit. In 2009 the official team kit was produced by German company Adidas which has a contract with the Ukrainian team until 31 December 2016. Joma manufactured the kits starting from the year 2017 for the match against Croatia on 24 March 2017.
SponsorsMarketing for the Football Federation of Ukraine is conducted by the Ukraine Football International.
- Title sponsor: Epicentr
- Premium sponsors: Chernihivske
- Official sponsors: Henkel, Adidas, Airline "MAU", NIKO, Boris clinic, Tour agency "Love Cyprus", Resort center "Grand Admiral Club"