WORLD: Friendly International
Time: 5:00 PM
Venue: OSC Metalist (Kharkiv)
Unbeaten in 2021 (W1, D4), Ukraine will now look to end their European Championship preparations on a high. Morale should already be good after Ukraine secured their third tournament appearance after finishing top of their Euro qualifying group for the first time ever, and they may start confidently here considering they’ve kept four straight HT clean sheets coming into this clash.
Another looks possible too, as six of Ukraine’s last eight friendlies have been low-scoring encounters featuring under 2.5 goals (W2, D4, L2). Playing at home will certainly strengthen Ukraine’s hand, as they haven’t lost a home friendly since September 2011 (W11, D7 following).
To no one’s surprise, Cyprus will be watching a major tournament from afar yet again, and just one goal across their previous five games shows exactly why (W1, D1, L3). Cyprus’ hopes of puncturing Ukraine’s pre-tournament confidence may depend on early starts as 13 of their last 15 matches had the same result at HT/FT. The Cypriots, however, do not fare well against nations ranked 50 or better, with their last win against such a team coming way back in February 2009.
To compound matters further a 1-0 loss to Hungary last time out made it four consecutive friendly losses for Cyprus, although three did come via a slim single-goal margin. That result extended a poor run of just one win from their last 19 friendlies (W1, D3, L15) during a period that saw Cyprus concede 14 first-half openers – including in the last H2H!
Players to watch: Andriy Yarmolenko will be desperate to score, as since his Ukraine debut in 2009 he’s scored in every year following – apart from 2021. Any hopes of an upset could rest on Dimitrios Christofi, as Cyprus have won six of his seven goalscoring games.
- Ukraine’s form in last 5 matches: WWWWW.
- Cyprus’s form in last 5 matches: LLLWD
PREDICTION: Home/Draw Over 4.5