England will welcome Ukraine to Wembley Stadium on April 1 as they resume their World Cup Qualifying campaign, which saw them gather maximum points from four games in an impressive, record-breaking start.
Ukraine played their first match in 1992 after division of the Soviet Union and have faced England on two previous occasions. The first was in May 2000, when they travelled to Wembley to face the Three Lions in a friendly match.
This was the penultimate game played at the original Wembley. It turned out to be England’s last win there after they lost to Germany in the very last game four months later.
The match was organised as preparation for Euro 2000 as Kevin Keegan geared up to take his side to Holland and Belgium for the final tournament, having qualified via a narrow play-off victory over Scotland.
England won 2-0 thanks to goals from Robbie Fowler just before half-time and then from Tony Adams midway through the second half.
The game was memorable for Keegan handing debuts to Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry, the former starting in central midfield with Paul Scholes.
Barry appeared for the last 15 minutes as a replacement for Phil Neville at left-back wing as England experimented with a 3-5-2 formation.
Their international careers have proved very different since their debuts, if involved again on Wednesday night Gerrard will win his 72nd cap, whereas Barry will win only his 29th having been largely overlooked until the reign of McClaren and now Capello.
The match was also remarkable as Alan Shearer’s last international appearance in England before he retired after Euro 2000, but he was unable to mark the occasion with a goal.
England’s only other previous meeting with Ukraine was in August 2004 when they met in another friendly at St. James’ Park. The Three Lions, this time under Sven-Goran Eriksson, were again victorious, this time by the score of 3-0.
Captain David Beckham gave his side the lead with his 14th international goal just before the half hour mark, finishing at the far post from a John Terry cross which was fortunate to reach him.
Beckham turned provider just into the second half, crossing perfectly for his new Real Madrid teammate Michael Owen to head home.
Eriksson then handed Shaun Wright-Phillips a debut as a substitute for Nicky Butt and the 22-year-old marked his first appearance with a stunning goal, as he ran from his own half before firing in from the edge of the box.
England will no doubt face a sterner test when they meet Ukraine for the first time in a competitive match but will hope to continue their winning run.
England’s overall record vs. Ukraine
P2 W2 D0 L0 F5 A0