In a tightly contested match in Poland, the England national team played to a 1-1 draw against their Ukrainian hosts in the third group of the European Cup 2024 qualifiers.
Early Goals Set the Stage
Ukraine took an early lead with Oleksandr Zinchenko finding the net in the 26th minute. However, England quickly responded as Kyle Walker equalized in the 41st minute.
England Maintains Group Lead
Despite the draw, England maintained their lead in the group with 13 points. Ukraine, with 7 points, remained in second place, while Italy was scheduled to play against North Macedonia in the same group.
England’s coach, Gareth Southgate, deployed a 4-3-3 formation, with Mark Guehi and Harry Maguire forming the defensive line. The midfield featured Declan Rice as the anchor player, supported by Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham. The attacking trio comprised Bukayo Saka, James Maddison, and Harry Kane.
Ukraine’s coach, Sergei Reberov, opted for a 4-2-3-1 system, with a defensive line consisting of Jochim Konoplya, Ilya Zabernyi, Mykolo Metviyenko, and Vitaly Mikulniko. Taras Stepanenko partnered with Oleksandr Zinchenko in midfield, while Hoyri Sudakov, Viktor Zhigankov, and Mykhailo Modric played behind striker Roman Yaremchuk.
The early stages of the match saw England struggling to threaten Ukraine’s goal, with their first chance coming in the 13th minute when Bukayo Saka’s shot was blocked by Taras Stepanenko.
Ukraine then surprised England in the 26th minute when Jochim Konoplya delivered a precise cross into the penalty area, allowing Oleksandr Zinchenko to score with a well-placed follow-up.
England’s response was swift, as Jordan Henderson’s shot sailed over the goal in the 28th minute. James Maddison had an opportunity to equalize but missed in the 36th minute.
However, England managed to level the score in the 41st minute when Harry Kane provided an assist to Kyle Walker, who calmly finished past the goalkeeper.
Second Half Action
The second half saw England on the offensive, with Harry Maguire heading a Kyle Walker cross over the goal in the 52nd minute. England came close to taking the lead in the 59th minute when Bukayo Saka’s shot hit the crossbar.
Harry Kane had a chance in the 64th minute but missed wide with his left foot. England made substitutions, bringing on Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford for Maddison and Bellingham.
In the 85th minute, England nearly secured a win, but the goalkeeper thwarted a free-kick by Rashford, and Jordan Henderson’s follow-up attempt was off target from close range.
A Hard-Fought Draw
The match concluded with both teams sharing the points. While England remains at the top of the group, Ukraine’s solid performance showcased their determination in the European Cup 2024 qualifiers. As the tournament progresses, both teams will continue to vie for qualification to the prestigious European Cup.