Poland is on the brink of making history by qualifying for the round of 16 in the Euros for the first time if they win against a demoralized Ukraine in their final Group C match. Ukraine meanwhile would be playing for pride after an unexpected loss against Northern Ireland dented their hopes of qualifying from the group.
The first match saw Ukraine put up a brave but futile fight against the world champions, Germany, but their disappointing match against Northern Ireland ensured an early elimination from the group stage. However, they would feel optimistic looking at the fact that Poland has failed to defeat them in their last 5 meetings.
Poland bagged all three points against Northern Ireland and a draw with Germany puts them in a very comfortable position going into this match. The strong defensive line of Poland has just conceded 1 goal in 6 matches and whilst holding Germany to a goalless draw. They will now look to build on the momentum and seal a berth in the round of 16 in style.
Here we showcase 5 players to watch out for in the game between Poland and Ukraine.
#1 Robert Lewandowski
One of the most lethal strikers around, Robert Lewandowski can annihilate opponents on his better days. His 5 goals in 9 minutes versus Wolfsburg and the 4 goals against Real Madrid are proof of his genius. The industrious and talented Polish midfield would look to provide killer passes to Lewandowski and watch him finish these attacks with absolute precision and accuracy.
Lewandowski has been a talisman for the Poles in the run to the Euro and Poland have struggled to score when he hasn’t found the net. While a lot of transfer speculation has been surrounding him the Pole claims that he wants to play his best for his country.
If Ukraine can prevent Poland’s main attacking threat from scoring or creating chances they would certainly have the upper hand in the match.
#2 Jakub Blaszczykowski
On loan at Fiorentina, the ex-Polish captain has seen a dismal season in the Serie A, a far cry from the 8 years successful stint he had at Borussia Dortmund. Blaszczykowski has been on exquisite form in this Euro and has been the powerhouse in the Polish midfield in all the matches he has played.
His passing accuracy in the match against Northern Ireland was a whopping 95% and he provided the crucial pull back assist which led to the winner. Against the world champions his defensive diligence in midfield was on display for everyone to see. Kuba has been compared to the likes of Daniele De Rossi time and again and he proves his worth whenever his puts on his national side’s jersey.
#3 Arkadiusz Milik
Hero of the first match and the villain in the next Milik has seen his Euro campaign fluctuate wildly. Against Northern Ireland, he scored in astonishing fashion while in the match against Germany he missed 2 open chances which could come to haunt Poland.
The young striker plays for Dutch side Ajax and is said to be a prime target for AS Roma, Liverpool and the English Champions Leicester City this season. He may have squandered a few chances in this Euro but he is still one of the best young players in this tournament. His partnership with Lewandowski has inspired Poland in the matches leading to the Euro and the fans would hope he puts in an inspiring performance against Ukraine as well.
#4 Yevhen Konoplyanka
One of the best players on the Ukrainian side, the 27-year-old Konoplyanka will have to play a key role to play for Ukraine like he played for Sevilla when they conquered the Europa League in the 2015-16 season. Known for initiating quick counters and high accuracy in rotating the ball in the midfield he will have to put in an inspiring game if Ukraine is to cause problems for Poland.
Konoplyanka helped his side to put in a spirited effort against the world champions but was surprisingly quite in the match against Northern Ireland. The fans would be hoping that their national side bows out in style in their final match and the pairing of Konoplyanka and Yarmolenko will play a crucial part in that.
#5 Andriy Yarmolenko
The tricky Dynamo Kiev winger has been in scintillating form for the club netting 16 goals in 32 appearances. Yarmolenko is highly sought after by Premier League clubs including the likes of Everton and Stoke, hence, the striker would be aiming to prove a point against the strong defensive line of Poland.
His aerial dominance and bag of skills make him a very entertaining package for the fans to watch and they would be expecting no less in their final match in this year’s Euro. Had a good run against Germany but unfortunately ended on the losing side and if he is able to replicate that form in the next match Poland would have a reason to worry.