Ukraine VS Finland, a narrow win for the hosts

Posted Sun, 28 Mar 2021 09:21:18 GMT        

Match Time:3/29/2021 02:45 Monday  (GMT+8)

FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA) --  Ukraine   VS   Finland

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Ukraine will be looking to build on their impressive point away to France when they host Finland in their second World Cup 2022 qualifying fixture.  


The Yellow and Blue held the world champions 1-1 in Paris on Wednesday, while Finland played out a 2-2 draw with Bosnia-Herzegovina in their opening Group D match.  


Match preview


Understandably given the level of opposition, Ukraine celebrated their draw at the Stade de France as though they had picked up all three points.   


Didier Deschamps named arguably his most attacking lineup yet as France boss and was rewarded when Antoine Griezmann fired Les Bleus in front, but Ukraine responded well.  


Not only did they keep Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Kingsley Coman and Olivier Giroud quiet from that point on, they equalised through Serhiy Sydorchuk's shot that deflected in off Presnel Kimpembe.  


That ended a three-game losing streak for Andriy Shevchenko's side, including back-to-back defeats to conclude their Nations League campaign in the autumn. 


It also came just five months on from a 7-1 battering against Deschamps's men at the same ground in a friendly, offering hope that a corner has been turned.   


After a positive Euro 2020 qualifying campaign that ended with Ukraine finishing above Portugal and unbeaten in their eight games, Shevchenko will be aiming for a place in the World Cup finals.  


Finland's target as third seeds in Group D will be to push France and more realistically Ukraine all the way, and they started their campaign positive enough with a point against Bosnia in Helsinki.   


That would have felt almost like a defeat, though, as Miroslav Stevanovic struck late on for the visitors to cancel out Teemu Pukki's double after Miralem Pjanic had opened the scoring.  


Markku Kanerva's side have lost just one of their last six matches - 3-1 to Wales in a showdown for Nations League promotion in November - and they went one better than Ukraine by winning away at France towards the end of last year, albeit in a friendly.  


Finland have lost their previous two encounters with Ukraine ahead of this latest showdown, going down 1-0 and 2-1 in the last World Cup qualifying campaign.  


Ukraine World Cup Qualifying - Europe form: D 

Ukraine form (all competitions): LWLLLD 

Finland World Cup Qualifying - Europe form: D 

Finland form (all competitions): WWWWLD


Team News 


Ukraine, already without Ihor Kharatin and Viktor Korniienko, have lost Taras Stepanenko, Artem Besedin and Viktor Tsygankov to injury.  


The back five formation used by Shevchenko against France clearly paid off, but this is a game Ukraine are expected to win so a back four is more likely.  


Ruslan Malinovskiy has three goals and four assists for Atalanta this term and should get the nod in attack, alongside Oleksandr Zubkov and Roman Yaremchuk.  


As for Finland, they have no known injury concerns on the back of the draw with Bosnia.  


However, Onni Valakari lasted only 45 minutes on Wednesday and may make way from the starting lineup versus Ukraine.  


Tim Sparv is among those in contention to return to the XI after starting on the bench last time out.  


Ukraine possible starting lineup: 


Bushchan; Karavaev, Kryvtsov, Matvienko, Mykolenko; Shaparenko, Sydorchuk, Zinchenko; Malinovskiy, Yaremchuk, Zubkov  


Finland possible starting lineup: 


Joronen; Toivio, Arajuuri, Raitala; Alho, Sparv, Kamara, Taylor, Hamalainen; Pukki, Pohjanpalo    


Ukraine 2-1 Finland

 Ukraine VS Finland, a narrow win for the hosts