The bookies all had Ukraine as firm favourites to win during Thursdays clash against Northern Ireland, with many online betting sites such as https://www.betadvice.net/ undecided and stating that it could go either way. It just goes to show that sometimes even the bookmakers get it wrong.
In fact, if you look at the previous form of both sides you’d forgive them for their error in judgement, as Ukraine definitely had a better run in their last 5 games compared to Northern Ireland, who had suffered a 1-0 loss to Poland earlier in the competition. It’s also funny to note at this point that aside of pre-tournament qualification, a Northern Irish football team has not won a game during a World Cup or Euro competition since they beat Spain in 1982!
However, on Thursday a revitalized Northern Ireland claimed a decisive 2-0 victory over Ukraine which, when coupled with the 0-0 result in the Germany vs Poland game, helped them to crush Ukraine’s chances of progressing past the group stages.
Match Overview: Northern Ireland 2 – Ukraine 0
In an action packed game that even saw the match stopped at one point due to a hailstorm, it was clear from the off that Northern Ireland displayed a greater desire to win. Ukraine had slightly more possession but Yarmolenko and Konoplyanka where unable to create any real chances, continually shut down by solid defending from both Johnny Evans and Aaron Hughes.
Gareth McAuley’s header from an Oliver Norwood free kick saw the side take the lead in the 49 th minuet, after building to a blistering crescendo following a solid 1st half display. Northern Irelands second goal came in extra time during the 2nd half, when Niall McGinn struck from close range after Stuart Dallas’ low shot was pushed away by the Ukraine’s Andriy Pyatov. Consequently, this 96 th minuet goal is the 6 th goal of the competition to come in extra time and now also holds the record as the latest goal scored in a Euro tournament ever.
Manager Martin O’Neill was overjoyed with the victory stating “It was probably the proudest I’ve felt in the dugout and probably in my entire football career”.
Is it Worth Putting A Bet on Northern Ireland vs Germany?
If you had an urge to bet on Northern Ireland, then their match against Ukraine was probably your best opportunity to come out on top. In the end there was just a feeling that Northern Ireland would win, some gamblers made a lot of money off of gut instinct on this one, and sometimes that’s just simply how it is.
The chances are that they might not be so lucky against a powerhouse such as Germany, whose strength in both attack and defence is sure to overwhelm Martin O’Niells side in the last of the group C matches. If Ukraine beat Poland and Northern Ireland manage to draw against Germany, then Northern Ireland will come 2nd in Group C and go through to the next stage of the competition. Follow the competition and see how it turns out for them, you never know they might surprise us all.