Ukraine calls up retired goalkeeper to face France

PARIS (AP) — Following an outbreak of virus cases, Ukraine called up a retired 45-year-old goalkeeper a few hours before Wednesday’s friendly match against France.

With only one goalkeeper available for the game at the Stade de France, Ukraine coach Andriy Shevchenko was forced to include Oleksandr Shovkovsky in his squad. The former Dynamo Kiev keeper retired in 2016.

The Ukrainian soccer federation said Shovkovsky is in good physical shape and has continued to play a role with the national team’s managing staff, being involved in training.

Shovkovsky received a call up after Ukraine said Tuesday that goalkeeper Andriy Lunin and backup Yuriy Pankiv had tested positive for the virus, along with the team’s cook. That left Heorhii Bushchan, who has yet to play an international game, as the only available goalkeeper in the squad.

The federation said Shovkovsky is not expected to play but will be used if Bushchan returns a positive test before the match or gets injured.

Two other players, goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov and defensive midfielder Taras Stepanenko, earlier stayed in Ukraine after testing positive before the team flew to France for the game. Pankiv was a late replacement after Pyatov tested positive.

France also registered a positive case this week, ruling out defender Leo Dubois.

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