Ukraine vs Northern Ireland preview, team news, stats, live on Sky Sports | Football news
Team news and stats ahead of Thursday’s Ukraine-Northern Ireland friendly, live on Sky Sports (kick off 7pm).
Ian Baraclough’s Northern Ireland squad for this summer camp was a mix of youth and experience, but he went as hard as he could for the game against Malta, naming a squad that included Stuart Dallas as captain, Craig Cathcart, Paddy McNair and McGinn.
Considering the difficulty of Thursday’s game, it seems likely that the manager will follow the same path again with only minimal changes expected for the starting lineup.
Conor Bradley, 17, made his bench debut this weekend, and opportunities for the youngsters will likely not present themselves until changes are made after the break.
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Northern Ireland got rid of a few great apes in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Malta – a first win in 90 minutes for Ian Baraclough in the 12th attempt, and also the first time the manager had seen his team score more than one goal in a match.
The performance offered Northern Ireland a lot to build on, but Thursday’s game is a much more difficult prospect. Where Malta is ranked 175th in the world and entered the weekend game desperately short of fitness, Ukraine is ranked 24th and is going through its final settings for Euro 2020. The game will prove to be a test. very different.
Two players who could enter the account to start are Kyle Lafferty and Dan Ballard. The pair went missing this weekend as Ballard helped Blackpool get promoted through the League One play-off final, while Lafferty arrived late after Kilmarnock’s relegation.
Both are now part of the group and are available. George Saville, who was a substitute this weekend after entering the squad himself late, will also be pushing for a departure.
This will happen behind closed doors, but Ukraine will look to set a milestone ahead of the summer in their penultimate game before opening their Group C campaign against the Netherlands on June 13.
This means the players will play for their place in Andriy Shevchenko’s squad, with only this game and Monday’s game against Cyprus for those on the sidelines to make their mark.
A match against the Ukrainians will send Northern Irish spirits back to the last European Championships and to Lyon.
It was there that Northern Ireland beat Ukraine 2-0 with second-half goals from Gareth McAuley and Niall McGinn giving Michael O’Neill’s side what turned out to be their only points. in the countryside.
How to follow
Ukraine vs Northern Ireland will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Main Event from 6:55 p.m. kick off at 7 p.m. Sky Sports customers can watch clips of the game in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be posted on the Sky Sports digital platforms and Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
- This will be the sixth meeting between Ukraine and Northern Ireland in all competitions, the previous five having seen two wins for Ukraine and one for the visitors (D2).
- After losing their first two matches against Ukraine (in 1996 and 1997), Northern Ireland is undefeated in their last three meetings with them in all competitions (V1 D2). They beat them 2-0 in their last meeting, which was at the European Championships in 2016.
- Northern Ireland will try to win back-to-back friendlies away for the first time since June 2004, having beaten the Czech Republic in their last such match (3-2 in October 2019).
- Ukraine have drawn in their last four international matches, all four ending with the same score (1-1). They scored the first goal but failed to win in two of their most recent three.
- Northern Ireland are looking for their first victory since October 2019 (3-2 against the Czech Republic), having won none of their last 13 games in all competitions (D5 L8).
- Viktor Tsygankov has scored three goals in his last six appearances for Ukraine, all three being substitutes.
- Northern Ireland have only scored eight goals in their last 13 internationals, despite not having scored more than once in any of the games in this series.