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By Simon Evans
DONETSK, June 18 Ukraine striker Andriy
Shevchenko is rated as 50-50 to start Tuesday's final Euro 20212
Group D match against England as he struggles to recover from a
knee injury, coach Oleg Blokhin said on Monday.
The 35-year-old forward took part in a squad training
session on Monday but Blokhin said the decision over his
involvement in the crunch game would not be made until match
"Its very hard to say, I'm not a magician, you should ask
the doctor - we have 24 hours, it's 50-50 I think," he said when
asked to rate Shevchenko's chances.
The loss of Shevchenko would be a huge loss for Ukraine
because not only is he the country's all-time top scorer but he
is a key figure in the dressing room.
Blokhin, who eventually demanded reporters in the news
conference stop asking questions about Shevchenko, said there
was no doubt his team would be weakened if the former AC Milan
forward was out.
"Our team doesn't have so many stars as the French, Spanish
or Italian team, so his role his very big, especially in our
"There probably isn't any other such striker in Ukraine and
if he cannot play - it would be a big loss for us," he said.
Earlier, team doctor Leonid Mironov, speaking on Studiya 1+1
channel, said the tissue was still swollen in Shevchenko's knee
which took two blows in the Group D loss to France and win over
Shevchenko, who scored both goals in his side's 2-1 win over
the Swedes, missed training on Sunday because he could not bend
his knee joint properly, Mironov said.
The co-hosts must beat England to have a chance of reaching
Blokhin said the pressure was on Ukraine's opponents given
their higher status in the game and greater expectations.
"They are one of the favourites, so the pressure is on
them," he said.
"We have a more relaxed approach, we have nothing to lose,
even if we don't get a great result, if we show fight on the
pitch till last minute that will be no disgrace," he said.
"England are a good team, everyone says they are tired but
I really don't see that.
"They have a style of play and play to a plan. I don't
believe this talk about English not being among the top teams,"
(Reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Ed Osmond)