Euro 2012 Group D commences its second round of games today with France vs. Ukraine taking to the field first. Ukrainian captain and inspirational player Andriy Shevchenko was involved in a road accident following their victory against Sweden, but is expected to play today. The match can be watched live in ESPN 2, or fans can watch online through live stream on ESPN 3 (details below).
Shevchenko was Ukraine's talisman against Sweden, scoring both goals to see the hosts win 2-1 and go top of Group D. He will be a vital player today as Ukraine take on a far tougher test in France.
Most will have France down as the firm favorites for this match, having destroyed Ukraine 4-1 in the same stadium just 12 months ago. However, if Ukraine can use their home advantage and get the win they will qualify for the quarter finals regardless of other results in the group.
France, however, know that a win is expected by fans back home, and anything less will see them chastised by their media and pundits. They will have accepted a 1-1 draw against England as a reasonable result, although they will be unhappy they did not convert their superior possession into more clear cut chances and goals.
The draw, although not drawing too much criticism, did see France set a new record for their nation - not winning eight games in a row in major tournaments. The winless streak means on paper this is the worst French team ever, which is harsh considering some of the talent they've got in the team. But statistically that is the weight of their winless run, and it may cause doubts in the minds of the French players, enough for Ukraine to believe they have a chance.
This match depends very much on which French team turns up? The confident, skilled team that will be sure to put their winless streak to bed, and defeat a clearly inferior Ukraine team; or the French team filled with uncertainty and doubt, lacking the confidence to exert their superiority on their opposition. Ukraine will be hoping it is the later, and if so, they will fancy their chances of booking their place in the quarter finals at the earliest opportunity.
The match will be shown live on ESPN 2, with kick off at 12 p.m. ET, or can be watched online through live stream on ESPN 3 by clicking HERE.