England vs Ukraine – Match preview and team news

The final games of the Euro 2012 group stage round off tonight with England, Ukraine and France all vying for qualification and Sweden fighting for pride. The English face off against the co-hosts, Ukraine, needing at least a point to qualify whilst Ukraine will go into the game needing a win.

Ukraine will come into game after a treacherous night at the Donbass Arena which saw them lose 2-0 to France after an electrical storm postponed the game for an hour. The difference in that game appeared to be the quality in finishing; the co-hosts had 9 attempts on goal but only managed 1 on target – the French taking 16 shots hitting the the target 10 times. This is a common theme for Ukraine so far in the championships, only managing three of their 13 attempts to hit the goal in their first game against Sweden, this time two of those rustling the back of the net courtesy of Andriy Shevchenko.

The English haven’t been clinical in front of goal either but have managed 4 goals in two games, although questions have been raised about the number of chances the Three Lions give away. So far in the tournament they have let 36 attempts on their goal, conceding 3 times.

However this game has not been dominated by the way both teams have played before but the returning Wayne Rooney. The Manchester United striker has been suspended for the first two games but is set to return to the first eleven tonight, at the expense it would seem of Andy Carroll. Scoring 28 times in 74 games there is no question about the impact Rooney can have, but it is his role of linking up the play which England will benefit from most.

Other team news for England could see Theo Walcott replace James Milner after an impressive substitute appearance against Sweden where he scored the equaliser and assisted the winner after a weaving run through the Scandinavian defence.

Ukraine could be without star-striker, Andriy Shevchenko. The former-Chelsea player has been struggling this week with a knee injury and is billed at 50-50 for the game.

In the past these two teams have face each other four times before, all in the last 10 years. England have won 3 times scoring 2+ goals in each of their wins. But the most recent fixture between the two saw Ukraine win 1-0 in the World Cup qualifiers three years ago. Most importanly for tonights game; Ukraine must win and England musn’t lose to qualify for the quater-finals of Euro 2012.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on England v Ukraine

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