Seven of the most famous names in Dutch and Ukrainian football formed the latest batch of players to receive an award from UEFA as the governing body continued its series of presentations to honour those who have made a century or more of appearances for their country.
Current Ukrainian internationals Anatoliy Tymoshchuk and Andriy Shevchenko and coach Oleh Blokhin were each given a commemorative cap and medal by Oleksandr Bandurko, the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) first vice-president, to recognise their years of service before the UEFA EURO 2012 co-hosts' 3-3 friendly draw with Germany in Kyiv.
Shevchenko, Ukraine's all-time leading scorer with 46 goals, said: "I am delighted to receive this prestigious award from UEFA. I have been playing for Ukraine for more than 15 years and had a lot of memorable games. I hope the team will achieve the best result possible during the forthcoming European Championship."
Tymoshchuk earned his 100th cap in a friendly defeat by Brazil 13 months ago − three days after Shevchenko became the first Ukrainian to reach the milestone. "This is a great idea that recognises the significant contribution of players from different national teams to the development of European football," added Tymoshchuk.
"I am pleased to be among the first players in the history of Ukrainian football to receive the UEFA centurion award and I hope that, over time, there will be more such players in Ukraine." Blokhin − in his second spell as Ukraine coach − scored 42 goals in 112 outings for the Soviet Union between 1972 and 1988, both records.
Four Netherlands greats also picked up awards on Friday, with Edwin van der Sar, Frank de Boer, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Phillip Cocu receiving them from Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) president and UEFA Executive Committee member Michael van Praag before the Oranje's 0-0 draw with Switzerland.
"This is a reward for years and years of sportsmanship and an ambassadorial role for the nation," said Van Praag. "As a representative of the KNVB I am extremely proud that we have no less then four players who are getting this award."
The following players will also be honoured by UEFA over the coming days: Ari Hjelm (Finland), Goce Sedloski (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and
Luís Figo (Portugal).
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