Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ukraine Greatest All-time 23 member team

Former Soviet Union except Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia

This is my selection of Ukraine's All-time 23 member team.  The team consisted players from both the former Soviet Union and independent Ukraine. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament. 

Ukrainian players were the backbone of the Soviet national team in the 1980's.  Valeriy Lobanovskyi who spent nearly 17 seasons as the manger of Dynamo Kyiv was instrumental in putting Ukraine on the football map.   With Dynamo Kyiv, he led them to victory at the 1975 and 1986 Cup Winners' Cup. The 1975 edition was the first major European trophy won by a Soviet club.  With the national team, he invented a Soviet version of Total Football that emphasized with collective football.  They were one of the most exciting team at WC 1986 and then, stormed to second place at Euro 1988 two years later.  After independence, Ukraine qualified for the 2006 World Cup Finals and reached the quarter final.  

The three Ukrainians who won the European Player of the Year award
GK: Oleh Makarov
Oleh Makarov played for Dynamo Kyiv from 1948 to 1953.  He also played for FC Chormomorets briefly. He was voted as the second best keeper on the Ukraine Team of the Century after Yevhen Rudakov. He was capped once for the USSR. In 1956 Makarov played couple of games for the Ukraine at the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR.

GK: Oleksandr Shovkovskiy
Oleksandr Shovkovskiy was capped 92 times between 1994 and 2012.  He was the first-choice keeper for Ukraine at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and the European Championship of  2012.  He won the penalty shootout against Switzerland in the round of 16.  He spent his entire career with Dynamo Kyiv. He had played for the club more than anyone in history.

GK: Viktor Bannikov
Viktor Bannikov was the Soviet Keeper of the Year in 1964 and 1970.   In 1968 he made a record that never was broken in the Soviet football by goalkeeping for 1122 minutes without conceding a single goal.  He spent most of his career with Dynamo Kyiv.  Having a great career at the club level, his international record was kind of shaky.  He was Lev Yashin's backup during the WC Finals in 1966.   He never impressed in any of his national team games.

RB: Vladimir Bessonov
Vladimir Bezsonov's career began in 1976 with Dynamo Kyiv. Here he spent most of his career, except for a short one-season stint in Israeli club Maccabi Haifa FC between 1990 and 1991.  He won 79 caps and scored 4 goals for the Soviet Union from 1977 to 1990.  He went to the World Cup Finals in 1982, 1986 and 1990. He was one of the best fullbacks in Soviet football history.  In 1979 Bezsonov played couple of games for Ukraine at the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR.
Vladimir Bessonov
CB/RB: Oleh Luzhnyi 
Oleh Luzhnyi made his international debut for the USSR in 1989 before the collapse of the Soviet Union.  He played 59 times for Ukraine and captained them for 39 times.  He was a key defender during Dynamo Kyiv's run the Champions' League during the 1990's. Later, he moved to England, playing 4 seasons with Arsenal and single season Wolverhampton Wanders.

CB: Oleg Kuznetsov
Born in East Germany, Oleg Kuznetsov was capped by the USSR, the CIS and Ukraine.  He was a star defender for the Soviet Union in the late 1980's.  He helped them to reach the Final of the Euro 1988 before losing to Holland.  He also played in the World Cup Finals in 1986 and 1990, and then, for CIS in the European Championship of 1992.  He played mainly for Dynamo Kyiv.  He played for Rangers in Scot;and after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Oleg Kuznetsov
CB: Mykhaylo Fomenko
Mykhaylo Fomenko was capped 24 times by the Soviet Union.  He was a part of the team that finished second at the European Championship of 1972. He was voted into the Ukrainian Team of the Century in 2000.  He was a part of the great Dynamo Kyiv team of the 1970's.  He won the 1975 Cup Winners' Cup with Dynamo Kyiv and the UEFA Super Cup.

CB: Anatoliy Konkov
Anatoliy Konkov was best remembered for winning the 1974-75 Cup Winners' Cup with Dynamo Kyiv.  He also played for FC Shakhtar Donetsk before joining Dynamo Kyiv. He was capped 47 times for the Soviet Union.  With him, the Soviets came second at European Championship of 1972, and won an Olympic bronze medal in 1976.

SW: Sergei Baltacha
Sergei Baltacha won  the 1986 Cup Winners' Cup with Dynamo Kyiv.  He played in the 1982 for Soviet Union and then, on the runner-up team at Euro 1988. He won a bronze medal at the 1980 Olympics. In 1988, he moved to play in the West.  He played for Ipswich Town and St. Johnstone.  He was the first Soviet player to play in England.

LB: Anatoliy Demyanenko
Anatoliy Demyanenko was a longtime Dynamo Kyiv captain and a prolific left wingback for the Soviet Union.  At the international level, he played in three World Cup Finals(1982, 1986 and 1990) and reached the Final of Euro 1988. In 2000,  he was voted the 3rd best player in the Ukrainian 'Team of the Century" behind Andrei Shevchenko and Oleg Blokhin.  After the collapse of the USSR, he played briefly in Germany for an East German club and then, in Poland.
Anatoliy Demyanenko
LB: Yuriy Istomin
Yuriy Istomin had 34 caps for the Soviet Union between 1967 and 1972. He played for the Soviet Union at the Euro 1972 where they finished 2nd. He was also a member of the team that reached the semifinal of Euro 1968. He won a bronze medal in the 1972 Olympics. He was Ukrainian, but spent most of his career with CSKA Moscow.

RW: Hennadiy Lytovchenko
Hennadiy Lytovchenko was the Soviet Player of the Year in 1984.  He was capped by the USSR for 58 times and by Ukraine for 4 times.  He was a star player at Euro 1988.  He also went to the World Cup Finals in 1986. and 1990. The highlights of his club career were played in FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Dynamo Kyiv and Olympiacos F.C.
Leonid Buryak was one of Dynamo Kyiv's greatest players.  He also played for Chornomorets Odesa and Torpedo Moscow. He was capped 49 times for the USSR. He won a bronze medal at the 1976 Olympics and went to the World Cup Finals in 1982.  In 1979, Buryak played couple of games for Ukraine at the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR. He was born in Ukraine of Jewish ethnicity.

Zavarov was known for his club career with Dynamo Kyiv.  He later played for Juventus and Nancy in the West.  had 41 caps for the USSR, playing in the World Cup finals in 1986 and 1990. He also played in the Euro 1988 in which the USSR team were runners-up.  In 2000 he was included in the Ukrainian Team of The Century according to a poll by the Ukrainsky Futbol weekly.  

Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko was capped 36 for the USSR and 5 times for CIS. He was a part of the Soviet squad that finished second at European Championship in 1988.  He became the Soviet Player of the Year that year after the tournament.  He was also capped twice by Ukraine.  He became one of the first Soviet player to play successfully aboard when he joined Sampdoria in 1990 and then, Rangers in the 1990's.
Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko
LW: Volodymyr Onyshchenko
Volodymyr Onyshchenko earned 44 caps for the USSR national football team, and participated in UEFA Euro 1972, where the Soviet Union finished second behind West Germany, and won two Olympic bronze medals. At the club level, he won the 1975 Cup Winners' Cup with Dynamo Kyiv, where he scored two goals in the Final. 

AM:  Andriy Biba
Andriy Biba was considered one of the best players in Dynamo Kyiv's history, where he played under Victor Maslov. With the club, he won three Soviet Top League in the 1960's.  He was the Soviet Player of the Year in 1966.  He earned a single cap for the USSR in 1965 during a match against Brazil and Pele.

FW:  Valeriy Lobanovskyi
Valeriy Lobanovskyi was probably best remembered as the coach that put both Soviet Union and Ukraine on the map.  As a player, he was considered to be Dynamo Kyiv's greatest player.  He was most famous for his legendary ability to score from corner kicks.  He spent seven years with the club before finishing his career with brief spells at Chornomorets Odessa, and Shakhtar Donetsk. He was capped twice by USSR in the early 1960's. 

SS: Igor Belanov 
Igor Belanov made a name for himself at Dynamo Kyiv, winning five major titles and being named European Footballer of the Year in 1986.  He played for the Soviet Union at the World Cup Finals in 1986, where he was one of the star players of the tournament.  He also went to Euro 1988, where the Soviets reached the Final against Holland.  He is considered one of the greatest Ukrainian and the Soviet player in history.
Igor Belanov 
SS: Oleg Blokhin
Oleg Blokhin was probably the greatest outfielder in Soviet history. He was the European Player of the Year in 1975.  He holds the all-time top goalscorer record for both Dynamo Kyiv (266 goals) and the Soviet Union national team (42 goals), as well as being the overall top goalscorer in the history of the Soviet Top League (211 goals). He is also the only player to have been capped over 100 times for the Soviet Union and holds Dynamo's appearance record with 582 appearances during his 18 year spell at the club.
Oleg Blokhin
ST: Oleh Protasov
Oleh Protasov was named Soviet Footballer of the Year in 1987. He scored 125 goals in the Soviet Championship, making him the 8th best scorer of all-time of the Championship.  He played for the Soviet Union 68 times, including at the 1986 and 1990 FIFA World Cups, as well as Euro 88, where he scored two goals.  He played for Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Dynamo Kyiv, Olympiacos Piraeus, Gamba Osaka, Veria FC, and finally Proodeftiki FC.

In 2011, Vitaly Starukhin, together with Oleg Blohin and Igor Belanov was named as "the legends of Ukrainian football" at the Victory of Football awards.  He was considered to be the greatest player for Shakhtar Donetsk. He played for them between 1973 and 1981.  He was the Soviet Player of the Year in 1979.  He was capped once by USSR in 1980.

ST: Andrei Shevchenko 
Andrei Shevchenko is considered one of the greatest Ukrainian player in history.  He won the Ballon D'Or in 2004 and came 3rd on the World Player of the Year.  He started his career with Dynamo Kyiv. He was best remembered for his stint with AC Milan, winning the Champions' League in 2003.  At the international level, he won 111 caps and scored 48 goals for the Ukraine.  He led Ukraine to qualify for the World Cup Finals in 2006.
Andrei Shevchenko 

Honorable Mention
Serhiy Rebrov, Vasily Turyanchik, Viktor Serebryanikov, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Ruslan Rotan, Oleh Husyev, Andriy Yarmolenko.

Squad Explanation
-- All the players from the Soviet Union era were selected through ethnicity. The players after the collapse of the Soviet Union were based upon the national team they chose. 
-- A few of the star players from Dynamo Kyiv during the era were not of Ukrainian ethnicity.  I put them on the rest of the former Soviet Union all-time team.  
-- All players who had represented the Ukrainian national team are eligible for this team.  
-- Ukraine produced three European Players of the Year(Ballon d'Or). They are Andriy Shevchenko (2004), Oleg Blokhin (1976) and  Igor Belanov (1986).
-- Under the Soviet Union, Ukraine sent 54 players to the World Cup Finals.   They were the second largest group behind the Russians.  However, the number does not tell the real story.  Ukrainians were the largest ethnic groups in the last three World Cup team before the end of Soviet Union.
-- In 1958, Ukrainians consisted of 18% of the Soviet World Cup team in Sweden.  In 1982, Ukrainians became the majority on the World Cup team.  The trend continued until the collapse of the Soviet Union.
-- In 2011, Vitaly Starukhin, Oleg Blohin and Igor Belanov were named as "the legends of Ukrainian football" at the Victory of Football awards.  Vitaly Starukhin is all-time great with FC Shakhtar Donetsk.  Most players on this team played for Dynamo Kyiv.
-- The Soviet Union was very strong in the 1960's and 1970's with Russian players such as Igor Netto, Eduard Streltsov, Lev Yashin, Albert Shesternyov etc, but the Soviet team from the 1980's consisted mainly of Ukrainian players.  The 1986 World Cup team was very good.  The backbone of the team came from Ukraine. From that team, I selected 8 players: Oleg Blokhin, Igor Belanov, Vladimir Bessonov, Oleg Kuznetsov, Anatoliy Demyanenko, Hennadiy Lytovchenko, Oleksandr Zavarov and Oleh Protasov.  Sergei Baltacha played for the Soviet Union during that period, but he did not go to Mexico.
-- Goalkeeper Yevhen Rudakov is an ethnic Russian born in Moscow who played for Dynamo Kyiv.  So I put him on the all-time Russian team.  He sometimes listed as Ukraine's greatest goalkeeper. 
-- Volodymyr Kaplychnyi and Leonid Buryak are Jewish.  I put them on the rest of the Soviet Union team
-- Volodymyr Muntyan is Romanian and Vasyl Rats is Hungarian.
-- In 1956, Yuriy Voinov played a couple of games for the Ukraine at the Spartakiad of the Peoples of the USSR, but he is of Russian in origin. He was born in Moscow.  He played for Zenit St. Petersburg before he joined Dynamo Kyiv in 1956.
--Viktor Onopko was an Ukrainian, but he opted to play for Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  So he was ineligible to represent Ukraine in football.  Andrey Kanchelskis was born in Ukraine of a Lithuanian father.  However, he chose to represent Russia in football.  I would have seriously looked into them if they chose to play for Ukraine.  Viktor Onopko probably would have made the team.  I would also consider dropping Serhiy Rebrov for Andrey Kanchelskis.
-- Leonid Buryak is also on my Former Soviet Union except Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia because of his  Jewish "ethnicity".  It meant to boost that team with a good player.  However, I also included him on this All-Time Ukraine team because the Jewish people can be interpreted as a religion rather than an ethnicity.  His exclusion from my all-time Ukraine team therefore is a prejudice against a religion.  
-- Oleksandr Zavarov made headlines when he joined Juventus and became one of the first Soviet players to play in the West.
-- Twenty out of 23 players selected on this team had played for the Soviet Union.
-- Only eight players were capped by an independent Ukraine. They are Oleksandr Shovkovskiy, Andriy Shevchenko, Serhiy Rebrov, Oleh Kuznetsov, Oleh Luzhnyi, Hennadiy Lytovchenko, Oleksiy Mykhaylychenko and Oleh Protasov.  
-- Ukraine qualified for their first World Cup Finals as an independent country in 2006.  The team was coached by Oleg Blokhin.  They reached the quarter-final before losing to eventual champion Italy. Only three members from that team were selected: Goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovskiy, Andriy Shevchenko and Serhiy Rebrov.  They are also the only players who were never capped by the Soviet Union.  Serhiy Rebrov made his professional debut in the Soviet Top League as a teenager.
-- Valeriy Lobanovskyi was probably best remembered as the coach that put both Soviet Union and Ukraine on the map.  As a player, he was considered to be Dynamo Kyiv's greatest player. 
-- Andrei Shevchenko is the most successful footballer from the former Soviet Union after the collapse.  I do not need to go into him.  I also took his strike partner Serhiy Rebrov.

Starting lineup
Formation I: 4-1-3-2
I based this lineup on the 4-3-2 formation used by Valeriy Lobanovskyi on at the 1986 Cup-Winners' Cup Final.  In order to bring Shenvchenko to the team, I pushed Blokhin to the midfield on the left.

Formation II: 4-3-3
Ideally, I want to play a dream forward line of Blokhin-Shevchenko-Belanov. I played Baltacha in the mdifeld to protect the midfield.

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

No comments:

Post a Comment