Euro 2016 Group C: Northern Ireland can bounce back with Ukraine upset
Lee Gormley | June 14, 2016
Ukraine v Northern Ireland
- Euro 2016 Group C
- Thursday, June 16th
- Kick-off: 17:00 BST
- Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Decines
- Live on ITV
NI aim to bounce back from opening defeat
Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland side will look to bounce back from their opening Euro 2016 defeat at the hands of Poland in their second Group C outing, as they prepare to face Ukraine, who were also toppled in their maiden campaign match-up.
Thanks to a great finish from Ajax starlet Arkadiusz Milik, the Green and White Army were narrowly beaten 1-0 last time out, while the Ukrainians were undone by world champions Germany 2-0, with goals coming from defender Shkodran Mustafi and substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Northern Ireland have never beaten their next opponents in four previous meetings, losing twice and drawing as many, though they are 11/2 with Coral to rally to three points this time around and hand Ukraine a second successive loss.
Although, Mykhaylo Fomenko’s men are the odds-on 8/15 favourites to triumph and 6/5 to secure victory without conceding at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Decines, while a stalemate is 11/4 to occur.
Lafferty looks to rediscover clinical eye
Northern Ireland marksman Kyle Lafferty was short on supply in the opening defeat to Poland, with the Norwich City frontman having to craft out opportunities for himself in the opener, but to no avail. He is 11/4 to find the target this time out, though, and rediscover his fine qualifying form.
QPR attacker Conor Washington was a bright spark when introduced in that loss, almost bagging the equaliser instantly off the bench, but he is 10/3 to fire in anytime here, with fellow forward Will Grigg 7/2 to dispatch.
Midfielders Jamie Ward, Steven Davis and Stuart Dallas also put in strong shifts for the Home Nation previously and the latter Leeds United wideman is 6/1 to get his name on the scoresheet, with Manchester United prospect Patrick McNair 7/1 for scoring success.
Konoplyanka could hurt NI rearguard
For the Ukrainian outfit, despite not having the initial desired impact first time out, Andriy Yarmolenko will once again be key to any success here, and the Dynamo Kiev attacker, who is linked heavily with Everton, is 5/1 to open proceedings.
Yevhen Konoplyanka will need a close watch to by the Northern Irish defence, with the Sevilla ace 7/4 to find the target anytime, after netting eight times in the season past for Unai Emery’s Bathtubs.
Meanwhile, Roman Zozulya and Yevhen Seleznyov are also threats and are 6/4 and 7/4 respectively to strike for their nation, with midfielder Ruslan Rotan 7/2 to get forward from deep and dispatch too.
Finishing the group campaign on just three points could still hand a country progression to the knockout stage with the new format this year, and Northern Ireland will go in search of a strong result over Ukraine to boost their hopes of achieving that feat on French soil.
What does Coral football ambassador Alan Shearer think ahead of Northern Ireland’s chances against Ukraine? Listen to his thoughts below.
Coral’s top tip: Back Kyle Lafferty to strike anytime for Northern Ireland at 11/4.