Ukraine, once part of the Soviet Union, gained independence in 1991. Normally, Ukrainians used to participate in sports on behalf of the Soviet Union. Ukraine was very influential in the field of sports of the Soviet Union. The Ukrainians were very influential in the Soviet Union, especially on the football field. Ukraine’s position in European football as an independent country is not a bad one. On the other hand, the football superpower, the Soviet Union, has lost a fraction of what is now Russia. The team does not have much success without hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
After gaining independence, Ukraine got its first chance to play in Euro 2012 in 2012. However, they did not have to go through the qualifying round. As one of the hosts, they got the opportunity to leave the group stage. Ukraine has played Euro twice more since then. Playing in the 2016 and 2020 editions, Ukraine’s highest achievement came in the 2021 Euro Championship. Ukraine will play in the quarter-finals of the service. In the quarter-finals, Harry Kane’s England team lost 4-0.
Russia first played in the World Cup as the Soviet Union in 1958 in Sweden. After that, playing in seven more seasons, Lev Yassin’s team’s highest achievement was finishing fourth in the 1986 World Cup. Recognized by FIFA as the successor to the Soviet Union, Russia has played four World Cups since its break-up. The highest success comes in the 2018 World Cup. Hosts Russia showed the surprise of the service by playing in the quarter-finals.
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As part of the Soviet Union, several Ukrainians had the opportunity to play in the World Cup, but as an independent country, Ukraine qualified for the first World Cup in 2006 in Germany. Shevchenko’s side, who started their World Cup mission with a 4-0 win over Spain, eventually reached the quarter-finals. After that, they could never cross the hurdle of the qualifying round.
In club football, Ukrainian clubs dominated the Soviet Union’s top leagues. While five Russian clubs have won the league 34 times, three Ukrainian teams have won the league 18 times. However, the club that won the league the most during the Soviet era is from Ukraine. Ukrainian giants Dynamo Kyiv had 12 league titles in the Soviet League, compared to 12 and 11 league titles of Russian giants Dynamo Moscow and Spartak Moscow, respectively.
Even after the break-up of the Soviet Union, Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk regularly play in the European League. Dynamo Kievum also got a taste of the European title. Kyiv’s team showcases a European Cup and two European Cup Winners’ Cup titles.
At the individual level, the Ukrainian footballers have seen success. So far, three Ukrainians have been lucky enough to win the Ballon d’Or. However, both of them won the Ballon d’Or during the Soviet era. Oleg Balkhin, the legend of Dynamo Kyiv, first won the Ballon d’Or in 1975. Igor Belanov, the winner of the second Ballon d’Or, also played for the famous Kyiv club. He received the Ballon d’Or in 1986.
Andrei Shevchenko won the Ballon d’Or in 2004. He won the Ballon d’Or for independent Ukraine. Shevchenko, one of the all-time great strikers of Italian club AC Milan, has won the Champions League for AC Milan.
On the other hand, the only Russian to win the Ballon d’Or was Lev Yassin, the best goalkeeper of all time. He won the Ballon d’Or in 1983 as the best player to play for the Soviet Union. He is the only goalkeeper to have won the award.