Win or lose, Ukraine already etched in history
Quarter-final play for debutants has raised enough eyebrows already giving the team to fight Italians head-on.india Updated: Jun 30, 2006 00:52 IST
World Cup debutants Ukraine go into Friday's quarter-final against Italy knowing that whatever the result they have already made their mark.
But although they have surpassed their goal of reaching the knockout stage, they do not want to stop there and have their sights set on creating an upset against the fancied Italians.
"We are not afraid of playing Italy, we will play freely. We are going to aim for victory," coach Oleg Blokhin said late on Wednesday.
"Italy are more under pressure because they are the favourites in our game and we have already achieved what we wanted to. We have already made history." Ukraine came into the tournament after an impressive qualifying campaign, clinching the first European place at the finals, but they have been criticised for playing uninspiring football in their matches so far.
Whatever the style, the achievement is indisputable.
"People are saying we are playing practical, modest football ? I like the football Ukraine are playing -- we are in the quarter-finals," said Blokhin.
The game kicks off at 1900 GMT on Friday in Hamburg and the winner will face either Germany or Argentina in the semi-finals.