Preview: Ukraine vs. England

Preview: Ukraine vs. England

The top two outfits in Euro 2024 qualifying Group C square off in Saturday’s tantalising showdown, as Ukraine do battle with section leaders England at the Stadion Wroc?aw in Poland.

As war rages in the ‘home team’s’ homeland, a neutral ground will be the venue for the weekend’s encounter, as the Three Lions endeavour to make it 15 points from a possible 15.

Saturday’s clash will mark a renewal of hostilities six months on from Ukraine’s 2-0 beating at the hands of England at Wembley, which saw Sergiy Rebrov’s team get off to the worst possible start in the preliminary rounds before an enthralling 3-3 friendly draw with 2024 hosts Germany.

There was more for Ukraine to smile about when competitive action resumed in June, though, as a captivating 3-2 win over North Macedonia – in which they came from two goals down to prevail – preceded a 1-0 triumph over Malta courtesy of a Viktor Tsygankov penalty.

Three days before that slender triumph, the Girona attacker had netted Ukraine’s third and final goal to complete their remarkable turnaround against North Macedonia, allowing Rebrov’s team to cement their place in the top two of Group C at this embryonic stage.

Ukraine also have a game in hand on their upcoming foes, although Italy – who sit one place and three points worse off than Rebrov’s team – have also played one fewer match, and the Blue and Yellow must pit their wits against the reigning European champions three days after locking horns with England.

March’s defeat to the Three Lions represents Ukraine’s sole defeat from their last 13 European Championship qualifying battles, but with the added disadvantage of not playing on familiar territory, making it to a fourth finals in a row may be more of a tall order this time around.

Preview: Ukraine vs. England – prediction, team news, lineups
With the nation gripped by Women’s World Cup fever over the summer, England’s men’s team now seek to prolong the feel-good factor after a near-faultless start to their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, having swept aside everything in their path so far.

Following a trio of successive wins over Italy, Ukraine and Malta, the Three Lions hosted North Macedonia at Old Trafford on June 19, but the visitors’ stopover at the Theatre of Dreams soon turned into a nightmare as Gareth Southgate’s ruthless troops hit them for seven.

Hat-trick hero Bukayo Saka took home a match ball for the first time, while Harry Kane (2), Marcus Rashford and Kalvin Phillips were also on target in that demolition job, which gave England an unassailable six-point lead at the top of Group C.

No UEFA nation in any of the groups can match the Three Lions’ 15 goals so far, and their winning streak in Euros qualifying matches now stands at seven games – during which they have only shipped one goal – since a 2-1 beating at the hands of the Czech Republic in 2019.

Prior to the Saka and Kane show in March’s victory over Ukraine, Southgate’s crop crushed the Blue and Yellow’s Euro 2020 dreams with a 4-0 quarter-final triumph, and a 1-0 win during a 2010 World Cup qualifier represents the only success for the ‘hosts’ in this fixture to date.

Ukraine Euro Champ Qualifying form:

Ukraine form (all competitions):

England Euro Champ Qualifying form:

England form (all competitions):

We say: Ukraine 0-3 England
Lighting should strike twice for England against Ukraine this weekend, as Southgate’s side quickly bring the Blue and Yellow back down to earth with a comprehensive win on Polish soil.

With several Three Lions attackers starting the season in red-hot form – not to mention the exploits of Jude Bellingham at Real Madrid – a straightforward win for the ‘visitors’ is the only outcome we can envisage.

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