France coach Laurent Blanc is well aware of the threat posed by Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko.
The former AC Milan and Chelsea forward rose even higher in the estimation of fans in his homeland with both goals in their opening Group D win over Sweden.
As a former central defender, Blanc has witnessed first-hand the talents of the Ukrainian and knows that despite his advancing years – Shevchenko will be 36 in September – he remains a threat.
“Shevchenko is someone I know well. I was lucky enough to play against him and sometimes I was not happy at the end of it because he is not easy to play against,” said the France coach ahead of the clash between the two nations tonight.
“He is no longer 20 but he is so clever with the runs that he makes and he showed that in the first game. He’s a great player and always in the right place at the right time. The big players perform at big tournaments and he is showing that.”
Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin says France and fellow Group D rivals England remain the top two contenders to qualify for the quarter-finals.
“I think England and France are the favourites,” he said. “I said after Sweden we haven’t achieved anything yet. My main task is make it possible that we get through the group stage.”