Our prediction for this match:
OSC Metalist stadium in Kharkiv will host Monday’s friendly between Ukraine and Cyprus, the two teams who meet for the first time since March 2016. Back then Ukraine defeated Cyprus thanks to Taras Stepanenko’s goal, and Andriy Shevchenko’s troops are once again seen as favourites to win the warm-up game. Since this will be Ukraine’s last warm-up game before their EURO 2020 opener against the Netherlands, Shevchenko is likely to field the best possible side.
The Cypriotes, on the other hand, missed out on a place at the upcoming showpiece tournament. Cyprus boss Nikos Kostenoglou is likely to use this friendly to test as many players as possible, which is probably the main reason why home win should be considered. Key attacker Pieros Sotiriou has been left out of Cyprus squad, which is yet another reason why we are tempted to put our money on the Ukrainians.
Highlighted Player (Andriy Yarmolenko):
Arguably the most exciting Ukrainian player at the moment, Andriy Yarmolenko is the 26-year-old forward, who can play wide as a winger and fill in numerous positions in attack. Over the past few years there has been a gathering feeling that the player has outgrown the Ukrainian League and that with the player surpassing the 200-game mark for Dynamo Kyiv Yarmolenko should be heading west to Europe’s brighter stage.
Wanted and scouted by Spanish giants Barcelona, Yarmolenko attracted interest from many other clubs, predominantly from the Premier League, and was even close to joining Everton in summer 2016, but the Goodison outfit’s offer came too late to the Ukrainian club.
Talented forward is a free-scoring machine who has already scored more than 115 goals for the club he spent his entire career with. The two-footed winger is equally adept through the middle and is a versatile force that would be a good addition to any self-respecting European side.
Yarmolenko made hi Ukraine debut in 2009 and has so far been capped 63 times, during which he scored 26 goals for the national set-up.
Highlighted Team (Cyprus):
Cyprus’ first match took place back in July, 1949, only one year after they became a member of FIFA. The Cypriotes played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Maccabi Tel Aviv and seven days later they played their first international game. Cyprus suffered a 3-1 loss to Israel in Tel Aviv back then and in November, 1960 they had their first official match as an independent country.
The Cyprus national football team shared the spoils with Israel in the 1962 World Cup qualifier and three years later they recorded their first international win (3-1 over Greece). Cyprus suffered their biggest loss on May 21, 1969, with the team losing to West Germany 12-0 and in 2000 they hammered Andorra 5-0 which is considered the team’s biggest win.
The Cypriotes have yet to qualify for the finals of the FIFA World Cup or the European Championship, but their victory over Bosnia in Zenica in the Euro 2016 qualifiers will be remembered. GSP Stadium in Nicosia is considered the national team’s home ground.