Ukraine Vs. Sweden: Andriy Shevchenko The Hero As Hosts Win

Ukraine came back to win their opening match of Euro 2012 thanks to a second-half Shevchenko brace.

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Ukraine Vs. Sweden, Euro 2012: Final Score, Andriy Shevchenko Cements His Legend In 2-1 Win

Andriy Shevchenko was already a national hero and the greatest Ukrainian footballer since Ukraine split off from the Soviet Union, but he's truly cemented himself as a legend with his performance on Monday. In Ukraine's first ever match in the European Championships, the 35-year-old striker scored twice to fire his team to a 2-1 comeback victory.

The first half of the match featured no goals, but a couple of narrow misses from the game's big name strikers, Shevchenko and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Shevchenko had a great effort blocked near the end of the half, while Ibrahimovic hit the post with a header when he should have been able to score just a minute later.

Ukraine had most of the possession in the first half, but Sweden came out looking much better in the second half. They were in control from the whistle until their possession finally paid off with a goal, in the 52nd minute. Sweden took advantage of some poor defending, with Andriy Yarmolenko failing to clear a deep cross by Sebastian Larsson. Markus Rosenberg got on the end of it and put the ball back across goal, where Ibrahimovic was waiting to finish.

Sweden's lead didn't last long. Just three minutes later, Yarmolenko atoned for his error with a brilliant cross into the box for Shevchenko, who split Sweden's defense and powered a header into the back of the net. At that point, the match looked even, but Ukraine would quickly go on to take a surprise lead.

Shevchenko was the hero yet again, scoring with another header, this time off of a corner kick. Evgeni Konoplyanka provided the assist with an in-swinging corner towards the near post, and Shevchenko incredibly both slipped his marker and accurately placed his header into the back of the net with a man standing on the near post. The stadium erupted, and they would get an opportunity to erupt for a second time as Ukraine held on for a 2-1 win.

You can find our previous coverage of the game in our Ukraine vs. Sweden, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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Ukraine Vs. Sweden, Euro 2012: Halftime Score, Chances But No Goals

Ukraine and Sweden have produced a highly entertaining 45 minutes of football in Kiev, but it hasn't resulted in any goals yet. Some blocked shots, some good goalkeeping and some bad luck for attacking players have all combined to keep the score 0-0 at halftime.

Sweden have the more accomplished technical players in midfield, but they haven't been able to translate that to possession. Ukraine look like they've been seriously boosted by their home fans, and they've surprisingly had much more of the ball than their opponents. They created a couple of very good opportunities late in the half, with Andreas Isaksson coming up with a big save on Andriy Voronin and Andreas Granqvist making a huge block on an Andriy Shevchenko shot.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been Sweden's most influential player, but he'll be kicking himself for failing to capitalize on the best chance of the first half. In the 39th minute, he was uncontested at the back post as he rose up to head a cross by Rasmus Elm towards the back post. It appeared that he would score easily, but his header bounced off the upright.

It hasn't been a terrible performance from Sweden, but Erik Hamren won't be terribly pleased with his team's lack of possession. Additionally, striker Markus Rosenberg has been mostly useless. The good news is that he has plenty of bench options. Johan Elmander could offer something up front, while Pontus Wernbloom and Anders Svensson are available to solidify his midfield.

We'll have live coverage in our Ukraine vs. Sweden, Euro 2012 StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

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