On this day 18 years ago: how the Ukrainian national football team made history
The performance of the Ukrainian national team and goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovskiy at the 2006 World Cup is remembered by all Ukrainian fans. However, not everyone can remember the path of the Ukrainian national team to this tournament. We tell you how Ukraine shone in 2005 and for the first time got a ticket to the final stage of the World Cup
Football is one of the most popular sports in Ukraine, and when the national team plays on the world stage, all Ukrainians follow their performance closely. The history of the Ukrainian national team includes many victories and quite a few defeats. Unfortunately, it has never won the most prestigious tournaments, but Ukrainian footballers always try to show quality football to please their fans.
It was 18 years ago, on September 3, 2005, that the Ukrainian national football team secured its first ticket to participate in the finals of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany for the first time since its independence. This was a huge achievement for the country and the team, which, although it had talented players, had never before made it to such a prestigious tournament.
How did it happen?
The head coach of the Ukrainian national team at that time was Oleg Blokhin, a legendary footballer and the best scorer in the history of Soviet football. He gathered a group of young and ambitious players, as well as experienced veterans, to create a strong team. The key players of the Ukrainian national team during this period were Andriy Shevchenko, Andriy Voronin, Andriy Husin, Oleksandr Shovkovsky, and others.
The path to the 2006 World Cup for the Ukrainian national team began with qualifying tournaments. The Ukrainian national team played in Group 2 of the qualifying tournament, where it met rivals such as Turkey, Denmark, Greece, Armenia and Kazakhstan.
Difficult matches and intense struggle resulted in Ukraine gaining 25 points and taking first place in the group, thus securing its participation in the final part of the World Cup.
Ukraine's historic performance at the 2006 World Cup
The World Cup itself in Germany was also quite successful for the Ukrainians. The Ukrainian national team was placed in Group H along with Spain, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia.
Ukraine started the tournament with a 4-0 victory over Saudi Arabia, but then lost to Spain with a 4-0 score. In the final match of the group stage, the Ukrainians beat Tunisia 1-0. These results allowed them to reach the playoffs of the 2006 World Cup.
In the playoffs, the Ukrainian national team battled Switzerland in the ⅛ final, a match that saw no goals until a penalty shootout in which Ukraine defeated Switzerland 3-0. Ukrainian fans probably still remember that outstanding performance by goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovsky.
In the quarterfinals, the Ukrainian team met Italy, which managed to stop Blokhin's talented team. However, the fact that Ukraine was two matches away from the final makes this stage a record in the history of Ukrainian football.
This tournament became one of the most memorable moments in the history of Ukrainian football and strengthened Ukraine's position as a serious force in world football. Much of the credit for this goes to the players and coaches who were able to unite and achieve outstanding results on the world stage.
We remind you that 129 years ago, on July 14, 1894, Ukraine played its first football match. Read more about the history of Ukrainian football and how the Ukrainian youth team won a ticket to the 2024 Olympic Games for the first time here.
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