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Preview: Ukraine vs. England - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's European Championship clash between Ukraine and England, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

On the cusp of a second successive semi-final appearance at a major tournament, England prepare for battle away from their Wembley headquarters as they meet Ukraine in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 in Rome on Saturday.

The Three Lions sunk their old nemesis Germany 2-0 to book their place in the last eight of the tournament, while surprise package Ukraine enjoyed a pulsating extra-time win over Sweden last time out.


Match preview

Ukraine's Artem Dovbyk celebrates scoring their second goal against Sweden at Euro 2020 on June 29, 2021© Reuters

Ukraine had Sweden to thank as they scraped into the last 16 of Euro 2020 by the skin of their teeth, with the Scandinavian side sinking Poland to ensure that Ukraine would qualify from their group as one of the four best third-placed outfits.

However, Andriy Shevchenko's side were in no position to do Sweden any favours of their own, as Oleksandr Zinchenko's powerful drive opened the scoring before Emil Forsberg's deflected effort would force another last-16 tie to go to extra-time.

The game looked destined to go the distance and be decided from 12 yards, but in the 121st minute of the encounter, substitute Artem Dovbyk headed home as jubilant scenes followed for Ukraine, who are now set for their maiden quarter-final appearance at the European Championships.

Picking up just three points from a possible nine in the group stage certainly did not spell success, but Shevchenko surely cannot care less about the manner in which his side have progressed as they seek a semi-final appearance at a major tournament for the first time ever.

The only previous quarter-final outing for Ukraine at the World Cup or Euros saw them bow out to eventual winners Italy in the 2006 tournament, and with their 15-year wait for another last-eight appearance finally over, Shevchenko will endeavour to take inspiration from his celebrated playing days and navigate his side to an odds-defying win once more.

Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring for England against Germany at Euro 2020 on June 29, 2021© Reuters

England captain Harry Kane very nearly let emotion take over during his post-match interview on Tuesday, and not a single soul could have blamed him. After breaking his Euro 2020 duck and trying to conduct media duties with a 40,000-strong Wembley crowd belting out 'Sweet Caroline', Kane's face truly said it all.

In what would ultimately turn out to be his final match at the Germany helm, Joachim Low witnessed his Mannschaft outfit enjoy the better of the opening periods, but England's staunch defence demonstrated exactly why they have gone 540 minutes without conceding a goal as the scores were tied at the interval.

With 75 minutes on the clock, England's man of the moment Raheem Sterling continued his rich goalscoring form with the opening goal, and after Thomas Muller inexplicably missed a gilt-edged chance to equalise, Kane put the game to bed to make Low's Germany farewell a miserable one.

Having navigated what may prove to be their most difficult test en route to the final, England supporters are understandably licking their lips at the prospect of another Wembley outing for the July 11 final, as a very winnable fixture with the Czech Republic or Denmark - both of whom still command great respect - awaits in the final four should England produce the goods in Rome.

By keeping a clean sheet against Die Mannschaft in the last 16, England followed in the footsteps of the Germans in 2016 by not conceding in any of their first four Euros matches, but a nail-biting weekend could be in store, as all three of England's quarter-final appearances at the tournament have been decided by a penalty shootout.

Ukraine and England have not locked horns since playing out a goalless draw in a 2013 friendly, and the only time these sides previously met in the Euros came one year before that, during which a Wayne Rooney winner propelled the Three Lions to a 1-0 group-stage success.

Ukraine European Championship form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Ukraine form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

England European Championship form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

England form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W



Team News

Jack Grealish and Declan Rice celebrate as England beat Germany on June 29, 2021© Reuters

Ukraine striker Artem Besedin was victim of a horror challenge by Sweden's Marcus Danielson in their quarter-final, and while he has not ruptured his ACL, there are fears that he could remain sidelined until 2022.

Oleksandr Zubkov is reported to have recovered from a calf strain and could put his name in the hat for selection, while Denys Popov has been forced to withdraw through injury.

Dovbyk's heroics may not be enough to earn him a start over Andriy Yarmolenko and Arsenal-linked Roman Yaremchuk, although the West Ham United man was cautioned in the last-16 win.

England duo Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell have completed their self-isolation periods after a coronavirus scare, but the latter is highly unlikely to challenge an in-form Luke Shaw for a spot on the left.

Southgate's shift to a back three worked wonders against Germany and may therefore be deployed here once again, which would hinder Jack Grealish's chances of a deserved start, but Mount is a candidate to replace the doubtful Bukayo Saka alongside Sterling and Kane.

Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips are both walking a tightrope after picking up bookings against Germany, so Jordan Henderson may be considered for a place in the XI, but changes will understandably be kept to a minimum if Southgate can help it.

Ukraine possible starting lineup:
Bushchan; Zabarnyi, Kryvtsov, Matvienko; Karavaev, Sydorchuk, Shaparenko, Stepanenko, Zinchenko; Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk

England possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire; Trippier, Rice, Henderson, Shaw; Mount, Kane, Sterling


SM words green background

We say: Ukraine 0-2 England

After backing Germany to dump England out of the Euros in the last-16 stage, we have certainly learned our lesson. With Ukraine set to deploy a similar system to that of Die Mannschaft, England's three-at-the-back formation ought to come good once again.

While Shevchenko's men deserve credit for making the last eight, it is fair to say that they have fluked it somewhat, and this time around, we are expecting England to get the job done ahead of another Wembley outing in the semi-finals.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:curl


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England
79.5%
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