International Friendly: Ukraine v United States

Ukraine's friendly with the USA represents a first chance to banish memories of November's dramatic FIFA World Cup play-off loss to France.

The sides meet on Wednesday in Cyprus due to the current political troubles in the Ukrainian capital, with Mykhaylo Fomenko's side having not played since bowing out of the qualifiers 3-2 on aggregate over two legs. 

Ukraine looked to have booked their place in Brazil after moving two goals ahead in the first leg in Kiev, but France fought back to win 3-0 in Paris and deny the visitors only a second World Cup appearance.

Those three goals were the first Ukraine had conceded in nine matches and Fomenko will be eager for his side to discover their defensive steel as he begins to prepare for their 2016 UEFA European Championships campaign. 

Wednesday's friendly is the only one scheduled before Ukraine take on Slovakia in September, with Fomenko taking the opportunity to blood some younger players.  

Evgeny Makarenko, Andriy Pylyavskyi and Denis Boyko are all in line for their first Ukraine caps, while, at the other end of the scale, Fomenko can again call on midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk - the nation's most-capped player with 131 appearances. 

While Fomenko and his charges will watch the goings-on in Brazil and wonder what might have been, Jurgen Klinsmann will take charge of his first World Cup with America. 

The US finished four points clear in qualification, but have won just one of their three friendlies since booking a spot in Brazil. 

Having seen plenty of domestic-based players in action in their recent friendlies, Klinsmann is hopeful that the side's three final games before the World Cup gets under way in Brazil can offer insight into those who ply their trade outside of the United States. 

"It's difficult for us coaches to prepare everything for this summer’s World Cup only having this game on March 5 before going into preparation camp," he told the U.S. Soccer website.

"Therefore, for the European-based players, in these three or four days we are together and the game against Ukraine, it's even more important they have a good showing."

Michael Bradley has withdrawn from America's training camp to continue his recovery from a minor injury, while Mix Diskerud is also missing as he returns to full fitness following a right hip problem.

Tim Ream has withdrawn as well due to personal reasons, with Jonathan Spector called up as he eyes a first cap since February 2012. 


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