"The Italians have a great team and they don't forgive mistakes," said former Ukraine manager Oleg Blokhin. And a ruthless Italy side capitalised on a fair few of them when the sides met on the biggest stage.
In the grand scheme of things, Italy's quarter-final meeting with Ukraine at the 2006 World Cup was a mere speed bump on their way to lifting the famous trophy in Germany.
Luca Toni scored twice as they ran out 3-0 winners, in what was their biggest win of the tournament.
For Ukraine it was their greatest World Cup achievement. Lead by perhaps their greatest ever footballer in Blokhin, they not only qualified for their first and only
World Cup as an independent country, they made it as far as the last eight.
Confidence in either side is not as high as it was back then.
With seeds of doubt around the formidability of this current Azzurri side, this match represents a chance at finally finding a chink in the armour for the Eastern
European nation. At least that would be the hope, though history suggests little reason for Milan legend and Ukrainian Coach Andriy Shevchenko to be optimistic.
In seven meetings Ukraine have not won once, with a 0-0 draw in 2006 the only result to take solace from.
Regardless of their achievement back in Germany, the squad was far from 'star-studded' and the football wasn't much to write home about either.
Back then the only man they feared in that team Is the one who will be sitting in the opposition dugout. One of Serie A's greatest imports, Andriy Shevchenko, led the line for Ukraine.
A Ballon d'or winner and Capocannoniere in 2004 with Milan, he was their greatest threat. The Azzurri backline did a good job of marshalling him as he only scored once in his four appearances against Italy, drawing a blank in that World Cup match.
But for a thumping late free-kick that stung the palms of Gianluigi Buffon, his contribution in the game was rather minor as he was well-marshalled by Fabio Cannavaro and Andrea Barzagli.
They could have done with his shooting boots that day as they peppered Buffon's goal to no avail in search of an equaliser.
He soon rectified that with a goal in their European Championship qualifier the following year, though a brace from Antonio Di Natale spoiled the party.
Speaking ahead of the game, Sheva said the Azzurri currently struggles for a true striker, and with Federico Bernardeschi rumoured to be unleashed in the false nine role, he might be right.
Though he himself struggles with the same problems as wingers Yevhen Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmalenko are the main source of goals, with the latter's absence through injury a blow.
Shevchenko even featured as a fresh-faced teenager in the very first meeting between the two sides back in 1995, when the 18-year-old was humbled by Paolo
Maldini and co. in a 2-0 reverse. The last time these two sides met was 2011, another 2-0 win. Only Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini remain in the current Italy squad.
Much like today they were adapting to a new regime, with Cesare Prandelli not long at the helm. Roberto Donadoni's first win as Italy boss came against Ukraine after an opening five games without victory.
With only one win from five games, like Prandelli and Donadoni, Roberto Mancini will be looking to use this fixture to take an important next step in transforming Italy in his image.
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