Euro 2020: Ukraine, North Macedonia square off in search of first point

Ukraine go into the match as favourites after an entertaining loss to the Dutch in the first match whereas North Macedonia are capable of pulling off a surprise win.

Ukraine winger Yarmolenko's brilliant goal against Netherlands; Credit: Twitter/@EURO2020

Ukraine take on North Macedonia in their Euro 2020 second round fixture of Group C at Bucharest on Thursday. Both teams are coming to the match after defeats in their first game in the Euros. Ukraine lost to Netherlands 3-2 in an entertaining tie at Amsterdam on Sunday. North Macedonia, on debut, were beaten 3-1 by Austria at Bucharest. Even though they lost, both teams gave a good account of themselves. This is especially true of Ukraine, who fought hard against the mighty Dutch before losing to a late winner.

Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine scored two goals in four minutes to level the score at 2-2 in their first game. Andriy Yarmolenko scored from a superb strike after cutting in from the right flank in the 75th minute. Roman Yaremchuk then leveled the score with a powerful header.

But, Frank De Boer’s side scored the winner in the 85th minute courtesy of Denzen Dumfries goal from Nathan Ake’s assist. Nevertheless the Yellow and Blues will take confidence from their strong fight back against the 1988 European Champion going into the match against the Red Lynxes.

North Macedonia on the other hand were convincingly defeated by Austria for their first win in European Championship. Stefan Lainer gave Austria the lead with a brilliant strike before Goran Pandev leveled the score with a simple tap-in after a defensive mix up. It was Macedonia’s first goal in their first ever appearance at a major tournament.

Although their celebrations were short lived as Micael Gregoritsch and Marko Arnautovic sealed the three points in the later stages of the game. 

Team news Ahead of Euro 2020 clash

Ukraine boss Andriy Shevchenko is unlikely to make any changes to the team that started against Netherlands. Apart from one forced change, that might be winger Oleksandr Zubkov, who was substituted in the 13th minute of the previous game because of a foot injury. Either Marlos or Viktor Tsygankon might come in for the injured winger.

Heorhiy Bushchan will start at the goal with Mykola Matviyenk and Ilya Zabarnyi in front of him at the central defence. Oleksandr Karavayev and Vitaliy Mykolenko are going to occupy the right-back and left-back positions respectively. Serhiy Sydorchuk, Atalanta’s Ruslan Malinovskyi and Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko are likely to continue at the midfield with Sydorchuk sitting back and the other two playing a slightly advanced role. Yaremchuk will be the main man up front with Yarmolenko occupying one of the wings. 

North Macedonia are also unlikely to make too many changes to the team that started against Austria. Igor Angelovski’s side plays with a 3-5-2 formation. Darko velkovski, Visar Musliu and Stefan Ristovski are going to be the three central defenders in front of the goalkeeper Dimitrieviski. Meanwhile Boban Nikolov and Ezgjan Alioski will be the two wing-backs. Eljif Elmas, Arijan Ademi and Eris Bardhi are going to be the three midfielders. Aleksandar Trajkouski will partner Pandev up front.

Both teams have faced each other four time before with Ukraine winning the last two encounters without conceding a goal. Both teams desperately need a result keep themselves alive in the competition. Ukraine are the favourites to come out on top but North Macedonia is capable of giving a surprise.

Sportslumo Desk

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