Ukraine vs Northern Ireland by Gustav
Ukrainians couldn't do much more in their EURO opening game against the Germans as they suffered 2:0 defeat. Germans opened the game better and took the lead in 19th minute with a goal from Mustafi, while the Ukrainians had their own amount of chances, however without effectivity upfront. Towards the end of the game, when they tried to risk more and more, Germans sealed their victory durign additional time with a goal from Schweinsteiger.
It looked like that the Germans are playing just enough to get the victory, while the Ukrainians looked without much of creativity and without proper force in attack. However, they were anyway from the start of the draw, focused much more on their two matches against obviously weaker sides Northern Ireland and Poland. Now, after the Polish side have won over Northern Ireland, it's no secret that Ukraine needs to do the same in order to keep the chances of qualifying further.
So, the target is a victory here and seeing their offensive line in the first game, they would probably be more than satisfied with a narrow win. They have no new injury worries and could stick to the same starting lineup that played against the Germans. They are expected to play in 4-2-3-1 formation with Zozulya upfront. Yarmolenko, Kovalenko and Konoplyanka should be employed as offensive midfielders.
Northern Ireland, on the other side, also looked quite weak, especially in the offensive part of the game against their opponent in the first round - Poland. Only goal was scored at the start of the second half via Milik, but the overall impression is that the Polish players completely deserved the victory, since the team from Northern Ireland create close to nothing in attack.
They do have quality players, especially in the defense and aren't looking that bad in defensive part of the game, however the team seems very limited when speaking about creating chances and scoring goals. Defender Craigh Catchart overcame a knock against Poland and should be starting here, again in three man defense.
They should continue in 3-5-2 formation with Kyle Lafferty and Conor Washington as strikers, while Paddy McNair pushes for a start here after he had solid performance coming from the bench in the first round.
- There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Ukraine's last 6 games (EURO Cup).
Where little chances for two goals to be score during the game I see here. Ukrainians are better, but similar to Polish side, they will hardly be able to break the resistance of Northern Irish side for more that once. Even if the Northern Irish try to play a bit more openly, I don't see them being specially good in offense in order to score a goal.