Home Sports Football Euro 2016 Preview – Ukraine v Northern Ireland
Preview – Ukraine v Northern Ireland

Preview – Ukraine v Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland and Ukraine will both be looking to score their first goal and record their first points of Euro 2016 in Lyon on Thursday after losing their openers.

Surprise package Northern Ireland caused an upset by qualifying for the European Championships, but were unable to continue that theme when they faced Poland at the weekend.

Michael O’Neill’s men saw their record 12-match unbeaten run come to an end as Arkadiusz Milik’s goal deservedly sealed a 1-0 win for the Poles and Northern Ireland will need to be more expansive if they are to get on the board against a Ukraine side who had their moments against world champions Germany.

The Germans eventually ran out 2-0 winners, but Mykhaylo Fomenko’s men were left wondering what might have been, having missed several chances.

Thursday’s clash now looks do-or-die for both nations if they are to make it through to the last-16 at Euro 2016, with Northern Ireland 6/1 to pick up three points. Ukraine are 4/7 and the draw is 14/5.

Ukraine have never lost to Northern Ireland in four competitive meetings, although the two sides did cancel each other out during qualifying for Euro 2004, as both matches ended in goalless draws.

Given their last two results and their failure to score in their first matches of Euro 2016, under 1.5 goals at 37/20 could be a solid selection.

If anyone is to spark what is likely to be a tight game into life it is the Ukrainian duo of Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka, who will play just behind Roman Zozulya in what is likely to be an unchanged side from Fomenko.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland have a fully fit squad to choose from, topscorer in qualification Kyle Lafferty having emerged unscathed from the game against Poland having struggled with a calf injury in the build-up.

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Gareth Freeman Gareth is our daily tipster, who has years of successful sports betting behind him and is always on hand to offer a value bet. As well as a passion for Football (UK and European), he also has in-depth Tennis, Boxing, Snooker and Basketball knowledge.