Ukraine lost 3-2 to Holland in their opening game, in what was the game of the tournament so far. Having been on the back foot for the whole game and 2-0 down with 15 minutes of normal time left to play, Yarmolenko scored an early contender for goal of the tournament before Yaremchuk scored again just 4 minutes later to level the game up at 2-2. They suffered late heart break though as Holland scored the winner in the 85th minute. Whilst Ukraine were pretty unimpressive for large parts of that game, there is no doubting they have the ability to win games at this years tournament. North Macedonia lost 3-1 to Austria, in a game that was not as comfortable as the score line suggests. North Macedonia play with a fearlessness that you have to admire, as at 1-1 they pushed forward trying to find the winner and ultimately paid the price. Though they have also showed that on their day they carry an attacking threat and will not roll over for anyone.
The referee for this game is Fernando Rapallini (Argentina), in his last 8 games this season he has given 41 yellow cards and 4 red cards, for an average of 5.12 yellow cards per game and 0.50 red cards per game.
This is a vital game for both sides, as if either of them lose it they can surely kiss goodbye to making the knock out stages. I feel with North Macedonia’s style of play, it promises to be an entertaining game as well. Ukraine will likely control possession, with North Macedonia looking to get to them on the counter. Ukraine have a slight edge in class and i feel that may be enough for them to scramble to a scrappy win. When Ukraine got going against Holland they looked good, just the problem was it took them too long to get going and when they did, it didn’t go on for long enough. Neither side will want to rely on their defence to get the job done after how they performed in their opening games, so i see both teams being attacking and Ukraine coming out on top by a 2-1 or 3-1 score line.