Table of Contents
Ukraine vs Austria – Context:
Like many people expected going into the final game of Group C, Austria and Ukraine are tied on 4 points having both beaten North Macedonia and lost to the Netherlands.
They face one another for the opportunity to progress to the knockout stages of the tournament, something both sides have struggled to do.
Interestingly with them both on 3 points, if they were to draw it is very likely that both teams would go through still. However, should a team win, they could in theory send their opponent out of the competition failing to amass enough points to go through as one of the third best sides.
Ukraine vs Austria – Head-to-head:
Despite seeming to be two rather evenly matched sides, both team have only played each other twice in their entire history. Ukraine winning the first in 2011 and Austria taking the win in 2012 with a 3-2 victory.
The second match in particular is interesting as Austria at this time in 2012 were still very much on the way to amassing the ‘golden generation’ that they are seeing now. Despite the fact that they are yet to witness real success with it.
Both David Alaba and Marko Arnautovic played with the latter scoring a brace. Reaching the knockout stages would be a big first step for a late blooming squad.
Ukraine vs Austria – Key battles:
Ukraine changed their style a lot for the match against North Macedonia and saw Vitaliy Mykolenko play in a much more reserved fashion on the left-hand side of the defence.
It is likely considering how important it will be to not lose the fixture that the Dynamo Kiev fullback will again play in this reserved position. The likes of Marcel Sabitzer and co will try to break down a stubborn defence.
At the other end of the pitch, Ukraine have enjoyed the fruits of Roman Yaremchuk. The Gent striker has two goals in two games and the likes of Martin Hinteregger will need to be on top form to stop him claiming a 3rd goal in as many games.
So far, Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko has been very quiet despite captaining his side in the midfield, he will be competing with a combative Austrian opponent in Konrad Laimer. Ukrainian technical ability against Austrian tenacity. A great battle to be seen for sure.
Ukraine vs Austria – The subplots:
What has hung over Austria for the entire tournament since his goal against North Macedonia has been Marko Arnautovic’s celebration.
The former West Ham United forward was found guilty of using abusive language towards one of the North Macedonian players and was banned for a single match.
He had to take to social media to say he was ‘not a racist’ and that things simply got ‘heated.’
“There were some heated words yesterday in the emotions of the game for which I would like to apologise – especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania,” Arnautovic said.
“I would like to say one thing very clearly: I am not a racist. I have friends in almost every country and I stand for diversity. Everyone who knows me is aware of that.”
If he plays, it is likely to garner plenty of attention.
Ukraine vs Austria – Predicted line-ups:
Ukraine: Bushchan, Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Matvienko, Mykolenko, Stepanenko, Zinchenko, Shaparenko, Yarmolenko, Malinovskyi, Yaremchuk
Austria: Bachmann, Lainer, Dragovic, Alaba, Hinteregger, Ulmer, Sabitzer, Laimer, Schlager, Baumgartner, Arnautovic
Football Live streaming: Featured matches on June 21