England vs Ukraine Preview: Three Lions Look To Strengthen Grip On Group C In Crunch EURO Qualifier

Published on 8 September 2023 at 20:00

Can Ukraine cause an upset with the backing of their partisan crowd? Will England put themselves one step closer to guaranteed qualification status for EURO 2024? Will Southgate start Maguire, Henderson or Pickford over the likes of the Tomori, Gallagher or Ramsdale? Saturday night's game in Wroclaw could be an exciting one...


Despite being involved in a competitive group on paper, with reigning EURO Champs Italy, a tricky Ukraine side and a North Macedonia side which almost went to the World Cup last Winter, it’s almost certain that England will prevail from Group C as runaway leaders.


In their reverse fixture against Ukraine, the Three Lions won 2-0 at Wembley thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka, but in front of a more partisan ‘home’ crowd for the Ukrainians, could a rare qualifying shock be on the cards for Gareth Southgate’s side?


England will be without key creative players like Jack Grealish and Trent Alexander-Arnold for the trip to Wroclaw, Poland, with fitness concerns amidst a short turnaround before the next round of domestic and continental games rightfully justifying many players withdrawing from the Senior squad.


Harry Maguire is highly likely to get his first major cameo of the season, excluding his substitute appearance as his Manchester United side conceded two late goals to Arsenal last Sunday. 


The 30-year-old is widely considered one of Southgate’s favourites after some solid performances in the last 3 international tournaments, but amidst increased scrutiny over his club performances and reported attitude, the likes of Levi Colwill, Lewis Dunk and Fikayo Tomori will feel hard done by to not be starting for their country this evening over Maguire and his lack of minutes this season. 


Read More: Is There Any Case For Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips and Jordan Pickford To Keep Making The England Team?


Ukraine meanwhile are vying with Italy for that coveted second place position in Group C, and both teams boast a similar record so far: having lost to England and then beat Malta, Italy have a game in hand whereas the Ukrainians narrowly beat North Macedonia earlier in qualifying. So it may simply be damage limitation and avoiding no major hit to the goal difference for Serhiy Rebrov and his team.


Featuring a mix of stars scattered across Europe’s top 5 leagues and older talent who have returned to domestic clubs, Ukraine do indeed pack a punch, and the sheer pace afforded to them by Mudryk’s presence can always lead to a deadly counter. 


Who do you think will win Saturday’s game between England and Ukraine? What will the final score be? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and over on our official social channels. 


By Jaspar Shepherdson

(@jasparshepmedia on Instagram and Twitter)

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