Coach refusing to say if Shevchenko will play against Spain

Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin refused to say Saturday whether star striker Andriy Shevchenko will play in the team's World Cup opener against Spain.

Ukraine had two training sessions on Saturday, a day after arriving in Berlin for its first World Cup, which it opens Wednesday in Leipzig.

Shevchenko, battling a knee injury since early May, trained separately in a morning session, running sprints and checking his heart rate under the supervision of personal trainer Piero Ondo.

"I can't say anything about Shevchenko's injury or whether he will play," Blokhin said. "We'll just have to see over the next few days. It's not that I want to hide anything from the Spanish, it's just that I don't know.

"If he is not ready then we will play without him. With Shevchenko, Ukraine is one team and without him it is a completely different one."

Though the press had been invited to attend the morning practice and speak to players afterward, Blokhin canceled the meeting without explanation, and security was present to prevent access.

"I feel fine, just a bit tired," Shevchenko said. "The knee feels good, as good as it can, but doctors have to decide. I think I will be fit for Spain. I have talked a lot to Blokhin. He is trying to slow me down, saying not to hurt myself, that the team needs me."

In an open evening session attended by 1,000 fans, Shevchenko trained a full 90 minutes with his teammates.

Blokhin said Shevchenko's was not the only injury on the team.

"We don't have a lot of big problems but we have several players carrying slight injuries," Blokhin said.

Defender Serhiy Fyodorov has recovered from a hip injury and striker Serhiy Rebrov was also recently injured. Goalkeeper Oleksandr Shovkovsky is returning from a collarbone injury.

Ukraine plays Tunisia and Saudi Arabia in Group H after facing Spain.

The Ukrainians are considered a threat with a healthy Shevchenko, who has 28 goals for his country, including six during qualifying for the 2006 tournament.

Though he only played part of the game, Shevchenko scored Thursday to help Ukraine beat Luxembourg 3-0 in its final World Cup warmup match, reports AP.

O.Ch.