Euro Betting: Ukraine vs North Macedonia 17th June
Group Stage | Group C | Bucharest
Their Euros So Far
The first game in the second round of Group C brings Ukraine against North Macedonia, and both sides will be desperate for victory after losing their opening ties. Ukraine lost a hard-fought encounter with the Netherlands, in which they pulled back from a two-goal deficit, only to fall foul to an 85th minute winner from Dutch defender, Denzel Dumfries.
North Macedonia suffered a similar fate, holding firm against the Austrians, until they conceded twice in the last 12 minutes in a harsh 3-1 defeat. One plus point for the Euro debutants was that they scored their first ever Euro goal, and it was scored by Goran Pandev, who at 37 years and 321 days old, became the oldest player to ever score at the Euros from open play. Another marker for the North Macedonians as they become part of Euro history.
Ukraine, in their third successive Euros since being first-time hosts with Poland in 2012, had only scored two Euro goals prior to their opener against the Dutch, and amazingly, they were scored by their current manager and national hero, Andriy Shevchenko against Sweden in their maiden tournament.
The spirit shown and two goals scored against the Netherlands will give Shevchenko’s men cause for optimism, particularly Andriy Yarmolenko, who’s stunning, curling strike against the Oranje put him just seven goals behind Shevchenko himself in the all-time tally of international goals for his country.
Ukraine will be hoping that their excellent, unbeaten qualifying form, including beating Euro-holders Portugal, will help see them past the North Macedonians and into the knockout rounds.
For North Macedonia, they simply have nothing to lose and will endeavour to play with the freedom that no expectation can bring. They will continue to look to the talismanic Pandev to lead the line and score the goals, and who knows? They could spring a surprise and make more Euro history.
This will be the teams’ first contest in six years, fifth meeting in total, and third Euro related match. The latest in the series was in qualifying for Euro 2016, with Ukraine winning 1-0 at home and 2-0 in North Macedonia, taking them to the finals in France. As part of the same group, Ukraine finished third to qualify via the play-offs, whilst North Macedonia finished bottom of the section, with just one win and four points from ten games.
Prior to that, the two nations have met in a couple of friendlies; a goalless draw in Kiev in 2003 and a North Macedonia victory the following year.
Interestingly, current forward Marjan Radeski and his nation twice had the beating of Ukraine in qualifying for the 2017 Under-21 Euros, scoring in both games as North Macedonia won 1-0 and 2-0. Could he do it again?
So, will Ukraine be inspired by their Dutch fightback? Or will North Macedonia make more Euros history?