Jakub Blaszczykowski fired the winner in Marseille during an entertaining encounter in the French sun to seal Poland’s place in the Round of 16.
These two are close neighbours and have shared a fierce rivalry despite co-hosting the Euros four years ago in 2012, Poland went into the game needing a win to secure their place in the round of 16 while Ukraine were already out so only had pride to play for.
Poland started the game on the front foot and got their first real chance when Lewandowski brought the ball down well, with a good back-heel through the defenders legs, finding a charging Milik who surged into the box but his shot was straight at the Ukraine keeper, Pyatov. Milik was continuing to cause danger amongst the Ukraine defence and his cross across goal was met by Lewandowski’s left foot but he skied his shot from 12 yards out.
Ukraine’s first and only chance of the first half came when Konoplyanka skipped inside past a defender but his shot was inches wide and hit the side-netting to the angst of everyone supporting Ukraine.
The introduction of Polish winger Jakub Blaszczykowski at the half-time break ultimately saw things change for Poland and this came about when he received the ball from Milik before rolling the ball past his defender to cut inside and fire into the top corner to give Poland all 3 points and second place in the group.
Poland then went out in search of a second goal and they almost got it when Lewandowski played youngster Kaputska through but his side-footed effort hit the side netting, leaving Kaputska even more frustrated. With the game dead for the next 20 minutes, Rotan tried to heat things up and get Ukraine back in the game but his 25-yard shot was well parried away by Polish stopper Lukasz Fabianksi to seal the last bit of action for the game.
However, promising Polish teen winger Kaputska will miss their Round of game after picking up his second card of the tournament in today’s game.
The result in this game means that Ukraine are definitely out of the tournament and that Poland will face off against Switzerland on Saturday in a tasty game between two underdogs in the tournament.
MOTM: Kamil Glik-The Polish centre-back had an outstanding game, stopping wave after wave of Ukraine attacks and this showed as he made 10 clearances and 3 interceptions throughout the game.
Poland XI:Fabianski, Cionek, Glik, Pazdan, Jedrzejczyk, Zielinski (Blaszczykowski 45), Krychowiak, Jodlowiec, Kaputska (Grosicki 71), Milik (Starzynski 90+3), Lewandowski.
Ukraine XI:Pyatov, Fedetskiy, Khacheridi, Kucher, Butko, Stepanenko, Rotan, Yarmolenko, Zinchenko (Kovalenko 73), Konoplyanka, Zozulya (Tymoshchuk 90+3).