Euro 2012: Co-host Ukraine in goalkeeping crisis

With two goalkeepers ruled out and a third in a race to recover from injury, Ukraine is heading into the European Championship in crisis.

Updated: May 13, 2012 16:20 IST
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Kiev, Ukraine: With two goalkeepers ruled out and a third in a race to recover from injury, Ukraine is heading into the European Championship in crisis.

Dynamo Kiev veteran Oleksandr Shovkovskiy is out because of shoulder surgery and Shakhtar Donetsk keeper Oleksandr Rybka has been banned for doping.

That leaves Spartak Moscow goalkeeper Andriy Dykan as the first choice, but he is recovering from facial injuries and may not be healthy in time.

"I can't say my condition is satisfactory, although it is better," Dykan said.

"As for Euro 2012, I really, really want to play. But time is passing, and I realize that my dream is drifting away."

The 34-year-old Dykan was hit in the face during a game in the Russian league on March 31, less than 10 weeks before co-host Ukraine opens Euro 2012 against Sweden.

"I hope that Dykan will return to the national team," Ukraine goalkeeper coach Yuriy Romenskiy said.

"Although the chance of that isn't very high."

If Dykan joins Shovkovskiy and Rybka on the sidelines, Ukraine coach Oleh Blokhin will likely turn to 27-year-old Andriy Pyatov. The Shakhtar Donetsk keeper has made 24 international appearances but has played rarely for his club this season after losing his place to Rybka.

The loss of Shovkovskiy is the biggest blow to the team's chances of getting through Group D, which also includes England, France and Sweden.

The 37-year-old Shovkovskiy, who has made 92 appearances for Ukraine, injured his shoulder ligaments in a domestic-league game in late April — only five weeks before the tournament. Doctors initially hoped to put off an operation until after the tournament, but had to leave that idea behind two weeks later.

"It's a cruel world. Circumstances often ruin all our dreams," Shovkovskiy wrote on his Facebook page.

"If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans for tomorrow."

The 25-year-old Rybka would have been the obvious replacement for the two injured goalkeepers, but he was banned for two years by UEFA in January after failing a doping test. The club said he accidentally took a banned diuretic as a slimming method without informing the team doctor.

The lack of an experienced keeper further weakens Ukraine's already-shaky defense. The team conceded two goals in a victory over Israel in February and three in a draw with Germany at home in November.

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  • Alou Diarra
  • Lech Poznan
  • Football
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  • Euro 2012

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