Ukraine play for pride after suffering back-to-back defeats when they take on a strong Poland at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on Tuesday night.
Ukraine manager Mykhaylo Fomenko will be still wondering what went wrong in the 2-0 defeat to a Northern Ireland side, whom they were supposed to defeat without much fuss. The consecutive defeats has pushed Ukraine to an early elimination from Euro 2016 and will finish bottom of the group even if they bag a big win over Poland, since Northern Ireland stays above on head-to-head advantage.
Poland will qualify for the knockouts even with a draw. But, if Northern manage to mount an upset against Germany, they are likely to finish third in the group. So the pretty straight forward equation for Poland is to look for a win which could hand them an automatic qualification regardless of the outcome from Germany vs Northern Ireland.
Ukraine Team News
Ukraine head coach Mykhaylo Fomenko has no injury concerns or players missing through suspension.
However, he will be forced to make some changes after witnessing two poor performance in the group stages.
Ukraine: Predicted Line-up (4-2-3-1)
Pyatov – Shevchuk, Rakitskiy, Khacheridi, Fedetskiy – Stepanenko, Sydorchuk – Konoplyanka, Kovalenko, Yarmolenko – Zozulya.
Poland: Team News
Wojcjech Szczesny remains sidelined with the thigh injury he picked up against Northern Ireland. Fabianski will retain his position in goal once again.
Adam Nawalka has no reason to bring changes to the team that performed admirably against the Germans in their previous game.
However, the teenage sensation Bartosz Kapustka is pushing for a start after impressing in the 1-0 win against Northern Ireland in the first group game. Is so Grosicki could be dropped to the bench.
Poland: Predicted Line-up (4-4-2)
Fabianski – Jedrzejczyk, Pazdam, Glik, Piszczek – Grosicki, Maczynski, Krychowiak, Blaszczykowski – Milik, Lewandowski.
Ukraine vs Poland: Head-to-Head Stats
- The teams met on 7 occasions since 1998, with Ukraine edging the head-to-head record with 3 wins against Poland’s 2 wins, meanwhile 2 matches were draws.
- Ukraine are unbeaten in the last 5 meetings against Poland and are on a 2 match winning run.
- The last meeting between the two sides was in World Cup qualification fixture in October 2013, an Andriy Yarmolenko goal giving Ukraine a 1-0 win on that occasion.
Ukraine vs Poland: Prediction
Ukraine had a good run of results prior to the tournament, where they were undefeated in 6 matches with 5 wins. The numbers are rather misleading as those wins came against lower ranked teams like Cyprus and Albania and struggling Romania and Slovenia. They hardly pulled the strings against moderate or stronger teams in recent months, despite having the luxury of abundant talent in the squad.
Poland are definitely looking like the team to win this one. They worked real hard in the first two matches, first against an unpredictable Northern Ireland and hold the strongest team in the group, Germany to a goal less draw. They are better organized in defense and there is plenty of quality in the midfield to feed the killer ball to start striker Lewandowski and the young and talented Arkadiusz Milik.
A clean victory for Poland is what I expect from this match and I also back them to keep a clean sheet, as they had let only 1 goal from their last six matches.
My Full Time Score Prediction for this match is Ukraine 0-2 Poland.
Poland to win First Half.
Poland Over 1.5 goals (FT).