Euro 2016: Ukraine vs Northern Ireland… Live!

by | Jun 16, 2016

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Edward June 16, 20164:24 pm

Good afternoon, people everywhere. England and Wales, that is now a matter for history. Leave it to Professor David Starkey to pick the bones from that one. Let’s move onwards to Group C and Northern Ireland. Their opponents today are Ukraine, who like the GAWA, lost their opening group game. Neutrals and supporters alike will be hoping for a bit more positivity and attack-mindedness from Northern Ireland today. We’ll also be looking out to see whether Ukraine’s game changers like Yarmolenko can make more of an impact today.

The teams:

UKRAINE Pyatov, Fedetskiy, Khacheridi, Rakitskiy, Shevchuk, Sydorchuk, Stepanenko, Yarmolenko, Kovalenko, Konoplyanka, Seleznyov.
NORTHERN IRELAND McGovern, Hughes, Cathcart, McAuley, J. Evans, Ward, C. Evans, Davis, Norwood, Dallas, Washington.

Edward June 16, 20164:48 pm

Five changes made by Northern Ireland from their opening game. And they needed to be done, as they had seven defenders on the field for much of their game with Poland. Iain Dowie fancies them to win 2-1. Bold choices being made all round.

Edward June 16, 20164:53 pm

What do we know about Ukraine? Well, two of their players are soap opera-style enemies. Their kit looks like a car blanket. Russia should probably stop annexing their territory. But they also have a well-established football pedigree and can’t ever be completely dismissed. However, this 2016 vintage does not seem to be the best. It’s a bit vinegary. If Norn Irn are going to pick up any points at the Euros, this is definitely their best chance.

Mark June 16, 20164:56 pm

Evening all. I once told BOB Dowie that “your twin brother is really ugly.” He didn’t get it. Anyway, caught a lot of my next door neighbour’s commentary on the England game. It ranged from “F***ing f**k Hart how could you not f***ing see that you c***” via “f*** off Bale you c**t when Vardy scored to *f**k you you Welsh c**ts and you you f***ing p*ff Bale” after about 92 minutes for some reason. Good game was it?

Anyway, Northern Ireland. Yes. Far to ready to take the train to plucky territory against Poland. I think Ireland might have blown their qualification chances by not beating Sweden. Likewise if the North don’t win this, they are in bother. I’ve been a Michael O’Neill fan since his Shamrock Rovers days. So, “come on you boys in Green, with an un-necessary bit of blue”

Edward June 16, 20165:00 pm

I’m never so painfully aware of why English people are not popular, than when England are playing at football.

By the way, I like a bit of blue on a Northern Irish kit myself. But they’ve over egged it, rather.
Edward June 16, 20165:02 pm

Congratulations, incidentally, to both sides for resisting the temptation to wear change kits.

Edward June 16, 20165:01 pm

I’m never so painfully aware of why English people are not popular, than when England are playing at football.

By the way, I like a bit of blue on a Northern Irish kit myself. But they’ve over egged it, rather.

Mark June 16, 20165:04 pm

BBC has Ukraine with 70% possession. Are the teams wearing each OTHER’S first kits??

Edward June 16, 20165:05 pm

Possession statistics are football’s equivalent of Nigel Farage’s assertion that “the doctors have got it wrong on smoking”.

Ian June 16, 20165:05 pm

Good afternoon, everybody. So, a few thoughts from me on England and Wales. Firstly, as Edward alluded to earlier, this is not an easy time to be able to get behind. The atmosphere surrounding the referendum campaigning and the hooliganism in both Marseille and Lille were bad enough, but today’s events in Yorkshire have been unspeakably terrible, and (and I’m aware of the extent to which this sounds like a platitude) put football matches into context.

But let me try to gather my thoughts on this. Let me be absolutely clear – England used their Get Out of Jail Free card this afternoon. They dominated possession and created the better chances, but it was a largely stodgy performance underwritten by playing the wrong team. Raheem Sterling surely won’t start against Slovakia after not even flattering to deceive and Harry Kane looks exhausted.

Wales, meanwhile, played too defensively after going ahead. England’s defence is famously brittle at the moment, and had they attacked it for a second goal they might well have killed off the match altogether. It’s horrible luck to lose to a goal in the ninety-second minute, but, as I said on Saturday night, you’ve got to close the game out. It’s kind of non-negotiable. Wales should still qualify. A point against a poor Russia team will almost certainly be enough. As for England, well, a win against Slovakia should see them top the group, but it’s difficult to see them getting beyond the quarter-finals unless they improve drastically. Winning this match will give them a psychological lift, but will that be enough? Probably not.

Mark June 16, 20165:07 pm

Good early shot by Dallas and, yes, already Northern Ireland have shown more adventure than they managed on Sunday. Oh…and I only saw bits and pieces of the England game. Thought they were good value for the win but not sure how a display like that will fare at the tournament’s business end.

Mark June 16, 20165:08 pm

Ex-Bolton star Youri Djorkaeff hasn’t aged a day since his EPL playing days, t judge by a shot of him in the crowd.

Edward June 16, 20165:09 pm

My twopenn’orth is that England look to be one of the better sides going forward at the tournament, but possess a defence that has “quarter final defeat” written through it like a stick of rock. We are still miles short of Italy, Germany or Spain.

Mark June 16, 20165:14 pm

Would like to hear the logic behind leaving Lafferty out. Discontent at his less than polite analysis of Sunday’s performance? I fear the North might miss him. After all, he WAS their qualifying campaign away from home.

Mark June 16, 20165:18 pm

Sydorchuk fires a mile off target as Ukraine begin to settle. As does the rain. And if the pitch was as over-watered as previous ones in this tournament appear to have been, there could be fun and games in the closing stages. Bloody hope so at this rate. A, cough, “quiet” start.

Mark June 16, 20165:25 pm

Jamie Ward having a tyre change, thanks to the afore-mentioned rain. The North are out if they lose this and Germany don’t lose to Poland. Some achievement to be knocked out after seven days when two-thirds of the teams qualify. And they don’t deserve that. Yet. Ukraine reduced to long-range efforts at the minute. But only muppet goalkeepers get beaten from over 30 yards at THIS compet…ah….

Mark June 16, 20165:29 pm

24th-minute applause in memory of 24-y-o Darren Rodgers, the NI fan who died in a fall in Nice after the Poland match. Marvellous gesture. Happened during the Ireland/Sweden game too.

Mark June 16, 20165:30 pm

And NI have stepped up a gear since. To no goal-threatening effect yet though.

Mark June 16, 20165:33 pm

Oliver Norwood continuing the Oliver/Oliviers’ poor tournament to date. But NI holding their own so far. Ukraine are being VERY Ukraine. Which is handy… Corenr to the North.

Ian June 16, 20165:34 pm

Northern Ireland looked like they’d fizzled out after a bright, attacking opening, but they’re starting to get back into it again. Still no-one’s scored more than two goals one match in this tournament. Don’t think that’s going to change with this match.

Mark June 16, 20165:35 pm

Cathcart heads Ward’s corner wide after a “rehearsed” move which involved six Irish players running in apparently random directions for what I counted as 12 seconds. A standard corner otherwise, but well hit and Cathcart was the closest yet to scoring. Od.

Mark June 16, 20165:37 pm

I’d liken that last setpiece to the “Seige of Ennis” but I’m guessing NOT ONE of you would have the slightest idea what I was on about. Ward has a long-ranger deflected wide. What moves this time?

Mark June 16, 20165:38 pm

No country dancing. Ward just chucked in a floater. Which I’m guessing pleased some of you…

Mark June 16, 20165:42 pm

Washington to Dallas, pass overhit by half a yard, or the American Connection would have been clean through. The North starting to boss this. Ukraine would be “desperate for the half-time whistle” if desperation wasn’t too much bother for them.

Mark June 16, 20165:46 pm

“Since when did Jamie Ward turn into Neymar?” asks the BBC website. I don’t know if Ward pays his taxes or not so I can’t comment. But Dowie is getting excited by Ward’s mishit cross a while back, which replays showed would have gone in…if Ukraine’s keeper had gone…to the toilet at exactly that time.

Mark June 16, 20165:46 pm

0-0 at the break. A slow burner but now developing nicely.

Mark June 16, 20165:47 pm

Christian Karembeu’s “thoughts are next.” I’m off. See you in 15…

Ian June 16, 20165:48 pm

A good half from Northern Ireland, there. The “Ukraine/Russia” chanting notwithstanding.

Mark June 16, 20165:57 pm

Interesting to be informed as discussion went to a potential Ukraine penalty that one of the panellists was “watching next door with Howard Webb.” (was listening not watching so don’t know which panellist it was). Would have been more bloody interesting to know what Webb said… (“penalty to Man United,” probably…ho-ho)…

Mark June 16, 20166:02 pm

Not sure what to call Northern Ireland when typing at speed, so sorry for the amount of different names. The Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster tweeted last night that there was “no such place” as “the North of Ireland.” Which will come as something of a shock to everyone in Donegal. So I’ll avoid using “the North” in the second half, in case she’s following us this afternoon. Or I might not.

Ian June 16, 20166:04 pm


Mark June 16, 20166:04 pm

“Yesss, come on…” Gareth McAuley. One-nothing Northern Ireland, as Huw Johns would have said…

Mark June 16, 20166:05 pm

McAuley heads home the improving Norwood’s free-kick. Iain Dowie makes a variety of noises which are easier imagined than spelt.

Ian June 16, 20166:07 pm

That was an outstanding move from Northern Ireland, and a terrific header from McAuley. Though Ukraine nearly go straight up the other end and level with what would have been a near-identical goal.

Mark June 16, 20166:07 pm

Wes Hoolahan put Ireland ahead at a similar time against a team in yellow and a bit of blue. And Sweden largely dominated thereafter. Shevchuk’s header at McGovern threatens to be the start of a repeat. Ulp.

Mark June 16, 20166:07 pm

And STILL no 0-0…

Mark June 16, 20166:08 pm

BTW: Was that a quick half-time? Only just got back in front of the TV screen for the, 49th minute, goal, after only 12 minutes away. Or am I getting old? Or both?

Mark June 16, 20166:12 pm

Shades of penguins carrying water buckets sliding about on wet paths in “Jeux Sans Frontieres” in the 1970s, the European “Its a Knockout.” When your parents tell you it was better in the 70s, remind them of “Jeux Sans Frontieres” and listen to the silence…

Meanwhile, Norwoodd fizzes another long-ranger on-target. Ukraine’s best hope is looking like a match abandonment…

Mark June 16, 20166:14 pm

Oh…HELLO. Off they go, as hails stones the size of Donald Trump’s brain (small but big for hail stones) land on the already slippy stuff.

Mark June 16, 20166:16 pm

Not great timing for NI. But if Ukraine have to “warm-up” again after that break, it could take them beyond 90 minutes. They’re on again. Bet there’s still only five minutes stoppage time

Mark June 16, 20166:18 pm

“Northern Ireland fans doing the bouncy there” says Dowie. A bit awkward, given the origin of the song. But I won’t bore you with that here. Suffice to say the Irish fans’ celebration is a sight for sore eyes…

Mark June 16, 20166:19 pm

Ward gets booked. Playing the Neymar role perfectly. NI as much on top now as before the break.

Ian June 16, 20166:22 pm

The clock has disappeared from the corner of the television screen, presumably knocked out by a stray hailstone.

Mark June 16, 20166:22 pm

Yarmolenko’s tournament goes from worse to even worse as he fails to outstrip Jonny Evans AGAIN. Ukraine have been pathetic since the goal. Tee-hee.

Mark June 16, 20166:22 pm

Is “live-bloggers’ curse” a thing???

Mark June 16, 20166:24 pm

I suspect the TV people are waiting for official word on whether the clocks should have stopped for the break. And with Uefa currently without a president we may never know.

Mark June 16, 20166:25 pm

Jamie Ward, NI’s best player, is…substituted. I’m sure O’Neill knows what he’s doing. In which case, he’s one-up on me.

Mark June 16, 20166:26 pm

The clock’s back and I’m guessing it DIDN’T stop for the break as there’s 70 minutes gone…

Mark June 16, 20166:28 pm

Kovalenko pings a 20-yarder just past the post with McGovern “looking on”… Ukraine waking up?

Mark June 16, 20166:31 pm

Ukraine look like they are trying to play Yarmolenko back into form, they’re giving him the ball so much. A long process, hopefully.

Mark June 16, 20166:32 pm

Kovalenko has a better chance from 20 yards than his previous effort but pulls it ludicrously wide. No great need for NI nerves yet…

Mark June 16, 20166:34 pm

The clock says 12 minutes left. But it could be 14…or 10. Or 1410 and Ukraine still wouldn’t score on this evidence.

Ian June 16, 20166:38 pm

Aha. It’s back. Seven minutes to play. Ukraine haven’t look *especially* threatening, but never say never.

Mark June 16, 20166:39 pm

Jonny Evans getting more involved…in an entirely good way so far. Did superbly well to annoy the **** out of Lewandowski on Sunday and is repeating the dose with this defending now.

Mark June 16, 20166:43 pm

Josh Magennis and Paddy McNair are NI’s last subs. Or they will be if Michael O’Neill just TELLS someone who is coming off. If that was a time-wasting tactic it was genius. Did McNair get on?? Same training ground as that “Seige of Ennis” corner in the first half, I reckon.

Mark June 16, 20166:45 pm

McGovern saves Yarmolenko’s first decent effort, a 20-yard left-footer. “Good height for a keeper.”

Mark June 16, 20166:45 pm

As Ray Wilkins would say: “O’Neill doing his pieces” on the touchline.

Mark June 16, 20166:46 pm

Dowie thinks six minutes stoppage time is a bit much. He has a goldfish’s memory of game-stopping hail storms.

Mark June 16, 20166:47 pm

IT IS getting fraught now. But Ukraine are still sh*te. And McGovern is “commanding his area.” Four minutes left.

Mark June 16, 20166:48 pm

McNair on at last. So, still four minutes left. Can hear Dowie freaking out already when the clock ticks into 97 minutes.

Mark June 16, 20166:51 pm

Just seen a replay of a recent Konoplyenka effort. A great chance…and he backheeled it to an invisible colleague. Nuts.

Mark June 16, 20166:51 pm


Ian June 16, 20166:51 pm

Well bloody hell, Norn Iron! 2-0!

Mark June 16, 20166:53 pm

McGinn fires in from close range. Iain Dowie says lots of vowels, altogether, very loudly. And with its surcease…success.

Mark June 16, 20166:56 pm

Right result. Ukraine were inispid. NI were solid and often threatening. No-one played badly, not even Norwood eventually. And if Germany don’t lose tonight, Ukraine go home after seven days. Some achievement etc… (see 5.25PM). And they deserve that.

Ian June 16, 20166:59 pm

Magnificent, from Northern Ireland. A ray of sunshine on a truly terrible day, in so many other respects. I’ll be back in about half an hour with Germany vs Poland.

Mark June 16, 20166:59 pm

The tournament may have a goals-per-game ratio that would have shamed Italia ’90. But its shaping up to be a good ‘un. And with so few goals, McGinn’s late strike could significantly push NI up the “best third-placed” rankings if they lose to Germany. And that is a bigger “IF” than it was at five o’clock. They are through, I reckon.