Our match prediction:
Parc Olympique Lyonnais will host the match between Ukraine and Northern Ireland. Mikhail Fomenko’s men aim to make amends for a 2-0 loss to Germany in the opening match of their Euro 2016 campaign and they will not have a better chance than this to record a win at the showpiece tournament in France. Yevhen Konoplyanka missed two clear-cut chances to score against Germany, but, no doubt, the Sevilla winger is likely to prove a handful for the opposition back line. Northern Ireland failed to impress in their opener against Poland and we do not believe that they are capable of upsetting Ukraine at Parc Olympique Lyonnais. Ukraine face a must-win situation in their second group game and we predict that Mikhail Fomenko’s men are going to pick up all three points from Thursday’s football match. Ukraine and Northern Ireland meet for the first time ever at the major tournament.
Highligted Player (Kravets):
Artem Kravets is a towering striker born on 3 June 1989 in Dniprodzerzhynsk, and he is a player who has yet to realise his full potential. Coming through the youth ranks at Dynamo Kiev, the forward never quite managed to nail down a regular starting berth in Ukraine’s most famous club, but he has rather searched for form during loan spells with Arsenal Kiev and Stuttgart. The return of 15 goals in 24 league appearances for Dynamo during the 2014/2015 season saw Kravets eventually get a chance to prove his worth in German Bundesliga, but the loan stint with VFB Stuttgart did not go according to plan. Despite the lack of action on club level, the striker was important member of the Ukraine team that secured their place at the Euro 2016 finals, scoring 3 goals in eight qualifiers, and he has since also profited from Yevhen Seleznyov’s decision to move to Russia that cost him a place in the national team.
Highlighted Team (Northern Ireland):
Competing first under the Irish flag and then as an independent entity, Northern Ireland are one of world’s oldest national teams, but they haven’t enjoyed too much success in history. Led by Danny Blanchflower, the Irish impressed at their first ever World Cup finals appearance, reaching the quarter-finals in 1958, but they have since only played at the 1982 and 1986 tournaments, reaching round 2 and crashing out in the group stage respectively. Northern Ireland had failed to qualify for 13 successive European Championship finals before finally booking their ticket to the Euro 2016 in France, and the fans hope this success will only be a sign of things to come. Without a doubt, George Best is the most famous footballer to have ever put on the green shirt, scoring 9 goals in 37 appearances, but he couldn’t help the national team close the gap behind Europe’s top sides. Some of the other high-profile footballers include Pat Jennings, Aaron Hughes, David Healy, Keith Gillespie, Steven Davies and Gareth McAuley.