Ukraine is one of the biggest disappointments in this tournament, especially with their performance against Northern Ireland. They lost the game 2-0, and now the Ukrainians are virtually eliminated out of the Euro. Even with a big win here, the progress to the next phase isn’t guaranteed. On the other hand, Poland was quite reliable and earned a point in a goalless stalemate with Germany. Although they scored only one goal in two matches so far, they allowed none. Poland won only one head-to-head match against Ukraine – it was 16 years ago.
Ukraine has very talented wingers in Konoplyanka and Yarmolenko, but the star players failed to make an impact, and the results are devastating. Without them on the top form, Ukraine is helpless, and the shaky defense was heavily exposed in the first two fixtures. They had 65% of the possession, but it proved to be not enough to win a game against one of the weakest teams in the tournament. Usually a strong defense is particularly disappointing; they conceded four goals in two matches while Zozulya and Seleznyov were ineffective in attack with zero goals scored. Head coach Fomenko will demand an improvement in the last game, but the Polish are very tricky opponents, and will certainly patiently wait for their chance to catch them on the breaks.
Poland’s draw with Germany came as a surprise, but they defended extremely well and deserved a point. Poland will undoubtedly progress in the next round with a point here, but even a defeat could see them finishing in the second position. Escaping a loss to Germany was a big success, and pretty much secure them a spot in the 1/8 finals thanks to Ukraine’s poor performances in the first two games. Coach Nawalka was pleased with the way the team played against the World Cup winners, and the atmosphere among the squad is very positive. After failing to reach the second round when they were the hosts, Poland should be proud of achieving it now in France.
Mykhaylo Fomenko cold decide to change the team a bit, but as long they have a slight chance of qualifying for the next round, he will field the best players he has. That means both of the wingers will get a start while the position in the attack is questionable.
Ukraine possible starting lineup: Pyatov; Fedetskiy, Khacheridi, Rakitsky, Shevchuk; Stepanenko, Garmash (Sydorchuk); Yarmolenko, Kovalenko (Zinchenko), Konoplyanka; Zozulya (Seleznyov).
Adam Nawalka could decide to rest some of the key players, but Poland can finish at the top of the group with a win and potential Germany’s draw or defeat against North Ireland, so he will probably field the standard starting eleven. Szczesny missed the game with Germany with a muscle injury, but should be available for this match.
Poland possible starting lineup: Szczesny (Fabianski); Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Jedrzejczyk; Krychowiak, Maczynski, Blaszczykowski, Kapustka (Grosicki); Milik; Lewandowski.