England return to Wembley Stadium after a great win in Italy to kick off their Euro 2024 campaign, this time hosting Ukraine. We look ahead to Sunday’s match with the key Opta insights and supercomputer prediction.
England vs Ukraine: The Quick Hits
- England are strong favourites (75%) to make it two from two in their opening set of Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.
- This is the first time these two sides will meet since England’s 4-0 win in the quarter-final of Euro 2020.
- The chance of a Ukraine win is a slim 7.2%.
England return to Wembley this weekend, no doubt buoyed by an impressive opening-game win against Italy in Naples. It was the first time since 1961 that the Three Lions had won away against the Azzurri, but goals from Declan Rice and Harry Kane were enough to see England over the line – despite a late red card for left-back Luke Shaw.
Ukraine were the only side in European Qualification Group C not to play in the first round of fixtures, so we’ve not yet seen what this iteration of Ukraine look like caretaker-manager Ruslan Rotan. Rotan will be managing in his first competitive game for Ukraine in this one and history tells us it won’t be an easy place to start. Ukraine have never beaten England away from home in four previous attempts (D1 L3), with this their first away game on English soil since September 2012, a 1-1 draw in a World Cup qualifier.
Equally, they are no slouches. Currently ranked no. 26 in the world, Ukraine have lost just two of their last 19 European Championship qualifying matches (W13 D4), and if anyone is to disrupt the England-Italy one-two at the top of Group C, it’ll be them. Ukraine went unbeaten as they topped their Euro 2020 qualifying group – one that included Portugal – so they certainly have the pedigree to cause an upset.
Ukraine 0-4 England: 3 July 2021 (Euro 2020)
The last time these two sides met was back in Rome in July 2021, in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020. England produced a magnificent display on the night as goals from Harry Kane (two), Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson set up a Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark at Wembley. They would go onto win that tie before ultimately losing the final to Italy on penalties.
Another clean sheet against Ukraine on the night was the Three Lions’ seventh in a row, which set a brand-new record. Up until Mikkel Damsgaard’s opener for Denmark in the semi-final, Jordan Pickford and co. had not conceded for 692 minutes.
A quarter-final finish was Ukraine best at a major tournament since 2006.
Although they come into this game off the back of an impressive away win against Italy, England’s form has been considerably patchy at home. They are winless in their last three home games (D2 L1), two at Wolves’ Molineux stadium and one at Wembley – the Three Lions haven’t gone four without a win at home since between October 2010 and June 2011 (D3 L1). In their two most recent home games, they shipped three or more goals – first a 4-0 defeat to Hungary and then 3-3 draw with Germany last year, both in the UEFA Nations League. They have never shipped three or more goals in three consecutive home games in their history.
That said, we’ve had an entire World Cup come and go since then – a tournament in which England performed pretty well in – so we probably can’t read too much into that.
Ukraine narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2022 World Cup, losing to a Gareth Bale-inspired Wales at an emotional UEFA play-off final.
Prior to resigning in January, then-manager Oleksandr Petrakov had coached Ukraine through a fairly mediocre UEFA Nations League campaign. Ukraine finished second behind Steve Clarke’s Scotland in their group in League B – failing to earn promotion back to League A in the process.
England: Harry Kane
First, Jimmy Greaves’ Tottenham record fell. Then the 200 Premier League landmark toppled. And now Harry Kane stands alone at the top of the England scoring charts, after scoring his 54th against Italy earlier this week.
Kane’s proficiency in qualifying games is remarkable. He’s been involved in 42 goals in just 28 appearances in qualifying games for major tournaments (33 goals, nine assists). He is scoring or assisting on average every 50 minutes in these games and has found the net in 18 of his last 19 qualifying appearances, scoring 27 times in those games.
Now his focus will be on making sure his record as England’s all-time scorer can never be broken.
Ukraine: Oleksandr Zinchenko
Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zinchenko has been in exceptional form for Arsenal so far this season. Nominally a left-back, Zinchenko has often inverted into midfield during Arsenal’s build-up, where his technical proficiency and excellent range of passing enables him to bring the Gunners up the pitch.
On average he’s been involved in 5.6 attacking sequences per game that have led to an Arsenal shot in the league so far this season, which is more than midfielders Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka and more than striker Eddie Nketiah. Such is his importance in Arsenal’s build-up play, that his 3.4 involvements in the build-up to a shot is more than any of his team-mates.
Zinchenko usually starts in midfield for his national team and will look to get on the ball early to try and alleviate pressure from his defensive backline that undoubtedly be kept busy.
England vs Ukraine Prediction
It’s perhaps not surprising to see England rated as heavy favourites in this game. The Three Lions have a 75.0% of winning, while the odds of an away win for Ukraine are small (7.2%). Ukraine haven’t played a competitive fixture in seven months, and this game will be Ruslan Rotan’s first in charge of the squad. It couldn’t really be a more difficult game first up.
England vs Ukraine Squads
England squad: Jordan Pickford, Fraser Forster, Aaron Ramsdale, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Eric Dier, Kieran Trippier, Luke Shaw, Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Marc Guéhi, Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips, Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, Harry Kane (captain), Jack Grealish, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden, James Maddison, Ivan Toney.
Ukraine squad: Andriy Lunin, Anatoliy Trubin, Mykyta Shevchenko, Mykola Matviyenko, Oleksandr Karavayev, Vitaliy Mykolenko, Eduard Sobol, Denys Popov, Oleksandr Svatok, Denys Miroshnichenko, Eduard Sarapiy, Andriy Yarmolenko (captain), Yevhen Konoplyanka, Taras Stepanenko, Serhiy Sydorchuk, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ruslan Malinovskyi, Viktor Tsyhankov, Vitaliy Buyalskyi, Mykhailo Mudryk, Oleksandr Pikhalyonok, Heorhiy Sudakov, Artem Bondarenko, Roman Yaremchuk, Artem Dovbyk