Sergei back on finals trail
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Sergei Rebrov faces crucial back-to-back games in pursuit of his dream to play in the finals of a major championship.
Sergei is expected to lead the line again with famed strike partner Andrei Shevchenko recovering from injury as Ukraine take on Greece in Kiev on Saturday and Northern Ireland in Belfast next Wednesday.
He has suffered the heartbreak of successive play-off defeats to get into major finals - the latest against Milenko Acimovic's Slovenia to make this summer's World Cup - and is determined not to suffer the same fate again.
To do so, they must first topple Spain or go down the dreaded play-off route again.
Ukraine let slip a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 against Armenia in their Euro 2004 qualifying opener last month.
"Every international game is very important," said Sergei. "First game we had a 2-2 draw but it wasn't really a good result for us because we were 2-0 up in the first half but something went wrong in the second half.
"We were the better team as well. That was disappointing and they scored a penalty in the last minute.
"Greece will be tough, a quality team and it would be hard whether we were home or away.
"We play better at home definitely and I think we will be the better team on the pitch and trying to win.
"We need to win the home games but not only home games, away games as well. We should look to win in Northern Ireland if we want to be in the European Championship.
"We want to make the finals. Three times in the play-offs, unbelievable.
"We are playing well, but we have inujuries, especially in defence. Serious injuries, broken legs. Of course, Andrei (Shevchenko) isn't playing either. He's had an operation and I don't think he will play these games, maybe he will return in November.
"We have problems but we still have a good team and we are looking forward to these games."