Two unexpected results in the second matches in this group. Northern Ireland were outstanding against an insipid Ukraine, who after a decent performance against Germany, just did not show up in the 0-2 win for the Irish. Maybe they did not fancy it in the monsoon conditions in Lyon (the players were even taken off at one stage because of hail) but whatever it was, it was terminal as they are now out of the competition with one game to go. Germany and Poland played out the first 0-0 of the tournament, just about a fair result, but if any team deserved the win it was Poland who really put it to the world champions and had the two best chances, both fluffed by striker, Arkadiusz Milik who should have done much better. The Germans didn’t seem to be on top of their game really and manager Joachim Low has a lot of thinking to do. His side are still top of the group on goal difference from Poland – 4 points each. Northern Ireland with 3 points and Ukraine bottom with nothing to show for their efforts so far.
After last Thursday results it may well make it a bit more interesting in regards to how the group may pan out, but to be fair I think its highly likely that both Poland and Germany will go through automatically to the knockout phases, they both only need a point to secure this. Poland will beat Ukraine in my opinion, though it wont be a walkover as the Ukrainians are proud people and would not want to head home, pointless and goalless. Germany have a tricker game against a Northern Ireland side that now has real belief it could do something remarkable. Unfortunately for the ‘Green and White Army’, Germany are not the team you really want to face if you require a point, especially as there is no guarantee that Low’s team are necessarily going to top the group now, which is something they will want to do. I feel the teutonic machine will do just enough and more than likely top the group too, Northern Ireland will still finish third and hope that maybe just maybe 3 points and a reasonable goal difference is enough. Predictions as below.
Ukraine 1 Poland 2
Northern Ireland 1 Germany 2
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