Euro 2012 Betting: Joint hosts could be in strife
Shevchenko will get all the attention, but another - Andriy Yarmolenko - is likely to be key if the co-hosts are to succeed.
With problems in front of goal, no in-form strikers and a poor record in Donetsk, about the only person Ashley Gray can find who fancies Ukraine's chances is Anatoliy Tymoshchuk...
The target for Ukraine is to at least get out of Group D, and anything less than that will be seen as a failure, given the home advantage. However, many fans don't fancy their chances at all. A poll for the popular national newspaper Segodnya showed 40% think Ukraine are destined to finish bottom, with less than a third expecting a place in the knock-out stages. A good start in the opening game against Sweden will bring back memories of making the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup. Record cap-holder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk isn't playing down expectations: he has said he sees the team reaching the final in Kiev on 1 July.
Is the manager popular?
Oleh Blokhin is a national hero, which rather masks some of his coaching limitations. He was a prolific striker for Dynamo Kiev and the Soviet Union and, in 1975, became the first Ukrainian winner of the Ballon d'Or. The 59-year-old's club management career, mostly in Greece, was less decorated. But Blokhin was the man who led Ukraine to the last eight at Germany 2006 and is back in the hot seat after a chaotic run of hiring and firing. He is likely to be popular with players after allowing them to take their WAGs on a pre-tournament training camp to Turkey, but that decision raised a few eyebrows and he can expect a backlash if results are poor.
The big talking points
Just a few months ago the talk was about whether reliable, veteran goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovskiy would be ousted by two very strong candidates: Shakhtar Donetsk's Oleksandr Rybka and Spartak Moscow's late developer Andriy Dykan. Suddenly, all three are out of the frame (Shovkovskiy and Dykan have serious injuries, Rybka failed a doping test) meaning that Shakhtar's second-choice Andriy Pyatov is likely to start the tournament.
Tactically, Ukraine like to play on the break, but they adapt their shape and personnel to how their opponents set up, though there is a fear that the lack of a settled system and starting XI could be counter-productive.
Which player could Ukraine least afford to lose?
Shevchenko will get all the attention, but another - Andriy Yarmolenko - is likely to be key if the co-hosts are to succeed. He can play anywhere along the forward line but will probably start wide to accommodate bigger (and less effective) names. Yarmolenko scored 12 goals for Dynamo Kiev this season, but he is just as important in making opportunities for team-mates.
Strengths and weaknesses?
Bayern Munich veteran Tymoshchuk holds together a solid midfield, and his industry complements the creativity of very exciting 21-year-old Yevhen Konoplyanka, who can play on the wing or as a floating midfielder. However, much was expected of the exciting talent at last year's Under-21 European Championship only for Konoplyanka, Yarmolenko and their contemporaries to be knocked out in the group stage.
There are plenty of candidates to play up front, including former Liverpool man Andriy Voronin and naturalised Serb Marko Devic, but none of the strikers are going into the tournament in sparkling form. One-time Premier League target Artem Milevskiy is in danger of becoming a peripheral figure for both Dynamo Kiev and his country. As well as the goalkeeper crisis, Ukraine are weak at the back and missing former Barcelona man Dmytro Chygrynskiy.
Ukraine's only guaranteed game in the capital, Kiev, is their opening tie against Sweden on June 11. That should be enough motivation to get the tournament going with a win, especially as there is the bad omen of no wins in their three games so far at Donetsk's Donbass Arena, where they will face France and England.
Ukraine to beat Sweden @ Betfair odds of 2.40
Ashley Gray is a football journalist specialising in eastern Europe for the Daily Mail and other publications. He has spent time analysing and visiting Ukraine in the run-up to the tournament.