Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Ukraine will look to keep their 100% record in Group 1 intact when they take on Ireland in Lodz. The match will be played on neutral location due to the current political situation in Ukraine, but the Yellow Blues are still seen as favourites to beat the Boys in Green. As always, a man to watch in the home team will be Oleksandr Zinchenko, who was rested in the Aviva Stadium clash, while West Ham forward Andriy Yarmolenko is pushing for a start.
Ireland, on the other hand, aim to build on a thrilling 3-0 win over Scotland, but seeing that Ukraine made a flying start to their UEFA Nations League campaign, home win should be considered. As for the visiting side, Stephen Kenny is unlikely to make too many changes to the team that outplayed the Scotts.
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 (Ireland):
Competing as an independent entity since 1953, Republic of Ireland have struggled to match the world’s best national teams ever since, although they did achieve several respectable results on the road. Their best ever result, the 1990 World Cup quarter-final, was achieved with a big smile from Lady Luck seeing that the Irish reached the last eight without winning a single match.
They have since reached the last 16 stage at the 1994 and 2002 tournaments, while only qualifying for three European Championship finals (1988, 2012, 2016). The Irish were in the top 10 of the FIFA Rankings in 1993 and 1994, but have failed to repeat the success in the next twenty odd years, and it appears they are no closer to bridging the gap behind European powerhouses.
Robbie Keane holds the record for most national team caps and goals at the same time, having bagged 67 in 143 appearances, whereas Niall Quinn, Steve Staunton, Damien Duff, Tony Cascarino and Don Givens are some of the other star players.