It’s fair to say that Ukraine do not arouse the same sort of response among most England supporters as Germany, but that hasn’t lessened the excitement.
Many will only believe it when it happens, but England have an excellent opportunity to reach their first major final in 55 years. How have they done against Ukraine in the past?
The teams did not meet until 2000 as Ukraine had been part of the Soviet Union between 1922 and 1991.
England’s record against their last-eight opponents is: played seven, won four, lost one, drawn two. This looks pretty good form for England, but there are caveats. Two of those wins were friendlies and England have never won by more than a single goal in a competitive fixture.
Ukraine’s only win came in a World Cup qualifier in 2009. But it wasn’t too serious for England who went on to win the group comfortably.
The teams were also in the same qualifying group for the 2014 World Cup, which provided their last two meetings. The qualifier at Wembley was a dull 1-1 draw. The game in Kiev was an even duller 0-0 draw. The two countries have not met since and the game in Rome will be their first on neutral soil.
The only fixture between the two sides in major championship finals came at Euro 2012. England won 1-0, but Ukraine were robbed of a goal when the ball had clearly crossed the line.
History suggests, but by no means guarantees, an England win, although certainly not an easy one. Kick-off is 8pm, Saturday, July 3 in Rome.
Ukraine (notice, not the Ukraine) is geographically almost five times the size of England. However, it’s approximate population is around 43 million, compared to England’s 56 million. Its capital is Kiev.
That population figure does not include the 2.5 million people who live in Crimea, recognised as Ukrainian by the United Nations, but under Russian control since it was annexed in 2014.
The best known Ukrainians here are the legendary boxing brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, and Ukraine’s current team manager Andriy Shevchenko who played for Chelsea, AC Milan and Dynamo Kyiv.