Ukraine take on North Macedonia in Bucharest in the second round of Group C games, the teams' first meeting since 2015.
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Ukraine take on North Macedonia in Bucharest in the second round of Group C games, the teams' first meeting in six years.
• Both sides suffered defeat in their opening games on 13 June, North Macedonia conceding twice in the final 12 minutes to go down 3-1 against Austria in Bucharest – Goran Pandev's 28th-minute strike, his country's first goal in a EURO finals, having made it 1-1 – while Ukraine were also undone late on against the Netherlands in Amsterdam. Quick strikes from Andriy Yarmolenko (75) and Roman Yaremchuk (79) retrieved a two-goal deficit but Andriy Shevchenko's side conceded again with five minutes remaining to go down 3-2.
• While Ukraine are in the finals for the third time running, and overall, North Macedonia are one of two countries making their debut at UEFA EURO 2020, along with Group B contenders Finland.
• This is the teams' fifth meeting, and their third EURO match. Their most recent contests came in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2016, Ukraine winning 1-0 in Lviv and 2-0 in Skopje on their way to the final tournament in France.
• Serhiy Sydorchuk scored the only goal at the Arena Lviv on 12 October 2014, with a Yevhen Seleznyov penalty and a late Artem Kravets strike securing the points at the Philip II National Arena – now the National Arena Todor Proeski – on 9 October 2015. Goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov kept clean sheets in both games for Ukraine.
• Ukraine finished third in Group C on 19 points and qualified for UEFA EURO 2016 via a play-off win against Slovenia; North Macedonia, with one win and four points from their ten fixtures, ended bottom of the section.
• The sides had earlier played two friendlies, a goalless draw in Kyiv on 11 October 2003 and a 1-0 North Macedonia victory in Skopje on 31 March the following year, Goran Stavrevski getting the only goal. Current Ukraine head coach Shevchenko captained his country in both of those matches.
EURO facts: Ukraine
• Having never featured in a UEFA European Championship before co-hosting the 2012 edition with Poland, this is Ukraine's third successive appearance in the final tournament.
• Ukraine have now lost six of their seven EURO matches, the exception a 2-1 defeat of Sweden in their opening UEFA EURO 2012 fixture. Shevchenko scored twice in Kyiv – Ukraine's only EURO finals goals before they scored twice on Matchday 1.
• A team coached by Mykhailo Fomenko finished bottom of Group C at UEFA EURO 2016, losing to Germany, Northern Ireland (both 0-2) and Poland (0-1).
• Shevchenko's side finished top of Group B in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2020, picking up 20 points from their eight games – three more than holders Portugal.
• Ukraine remained unbeaten in qualifying, winning six and drawing two. They are one of five sides to not lose a game in the UEFA EURO 2020 preliminaries, along with Belgium, Italy – who both won all their fixtures – Spain and Denmark.
• This is the first time Ukraine have qualified for a EURO directly; after co-hosting in 2012, they beat Slovenia in the play-offs to reach the 2016 event.
• Ukraine's sole previous game in Romania was a 4-1 friendly defeat against the home side at the Stadionul Gheorghe Hagi – now the Stadionul Farul – in Constanţa on 27 March 2002.
EURO facts: North Macedonia
• This is North Macedonia's first final tournament. Before UEFA EURO 2020 they had never finished higher than fourth in their qualifying section for a UEFA European Championship or a FIFA World Cup.
• Igor Angelovski's side were third in Group G behind Poland (25 points) and Austria (19) in their UEFA EURO 2020 section. North Macedonia picked up 14 points from their ten games (W4 D2 L4), level with Slovenia but with a superior head-to-head record despite losing two of their final three matches, away to Poland (0-2) and Austria (1-2).
• North Macedonia qualified for the EURO play-offs having topped their 2018/19 UEFA Nations League section ahead of Armenia, Gibraltar and Liechtenstein, winning five of their six matches (L1) to finish five points clear at the head of the standings.
• Angelovski's team were 2-1 winners at home to Kosovo in the play-off semi-finals, Krste Velkovski's first international goal deciding the contest, before captain Goran Pandev's strike proved enough to win the final in Georgia 1-0.
• Having beaten Israel 1-0 in their final Group G qualifier, those play-off results made it three successive EURO qualifying wins for North Macedonia for the first time.
• North Macedonia are the 35th country to have qualified for the EURO.
• North Macedonia's Matchday 1 debut against Austria was also held at the National Arena in Bucharest.
• North Macedonia visited Bucharest's National Arena on 25 March this year, where they were defeated 3-2 by hosts Romania in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier despite goals from Arijan Ademi and Aleksandar Trajkovski.
• North Macedonia's sole previous game in Bucharest before 2021 was a 4-2 defeat by the home side at the Stadionul Steaua in qualifying for the 1998 World Cup in August 1997. Their only other visit to Romania came more recently, in Craiova on 4 September 2004, when they lost another World Cup qualifier 2-1 to their hosts.
Links and trivia
• Marjan Radeski scored in each game as North Macedonia beat Ukraine 1-0 at home and 2-0 away on their way to qualifying for the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. Damjan Siskovski, Darko Velkovski – who was sent off in the first game in Skopje – Gjoko Zajkov, Visar Musliu, Enis Bardi, Boban Nikolov, Egzon Bejtulai and Tihomir Kostadinov also featured for North Macedonia across the two games with Eduard Sobol, Oleksandar Zubkov and Roman Yaremchuk involved for Ukraine.
• Ruslan Malinovskyi and Pandev both registered a goal and assist apiece last month in Atalanta's 4-3 Serie A win at Genoa.
• Ademi scored Dinamo Zagreb's final goal in a 3-3 UEFA Champions League group stage draw at home to Shakhtar Donetsk on 6 November 2019.
• Ivan Tričkovski's goal earned APOEL a 1-1 draw at Shakhtar in the UEFA Champions League group stage on 28 September 2011.
• Ukraine's defeat by the Netherlands in Amsterdam ended the team's six-match unbeaten run. They had registered a fourth successive 1-1 draw in the first of their three pre-UEFA EURO 2020 friendlies, against Bahrain in Kharkiv on 23 May, but were subsequently victorious against both Northern Ireland – 1-0 in Dnipro – and Cyprus – 4-0 in Kharkiv.
• There were international debuts from the bench for Heorhii Sudakov and Denys Popov against Bahrain and a first international goal for Oleksandr Zubkov to win the game against Northern Ireland.
• Andriy Yarmolenko scored twice against Cyprus before finding the net with a spectacular strike against the Netherlands – Ukraine's first goal in six EURO finals matches and his first at a major tournament – to lift his all-time tally of international goals to 41, seven behind Ukraine's record scorer, and current head coach, Andriy Shevchenko.
• Roman Yaremchuk's equalising goal in Amsterdam was his third in four internationals and ninth in total. One more will make him only the eighth Ukrainian goalscorer to reach double figures.
• Yarmolenko and goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov are veterans of the country's two previous EURO final tournament campaigns, the pair having played all six matches in 2012 and 2016, the first three alongside Shevchenko. Only four other UEFA EURO 2020 squad members have survived from the last squad in France – Serhiy Sydorchuk, Taras Stepanenko, Oleksandr Zivchenko and Oleksandr Karavaev.
• Dynamo Kyiv won the Ukrainian league double in 2020/21 and there are ten players from that side in Shevchenko's squad – Sydorchuk, Karavaev, Popov, Georgiy Bushchan, Mykola Shaparenko, Illia Zabarnyi, Viktor Tsygankov, Vitaliy Mykolenko, Artem Besedin and Oleksandr Tymchyk.
• Other 2020/21 domestic league title winners in the Ukraine squad are Ferencváros's Zubkov, Manchester City's Zinchenko and Club Brugge's Eduard Sobol.
• Yarmolenko was one of only three members of Ukraine's UEFA EURO 2020 squad not involved in UEFA club competition in 2020/21 – along with Yevhen Makarenko and Artem Dobnyk. However, his West Ham side have qualified to play UEFA Europa League group stage football in 2021/22 thanks to their sixth-placed finish in the Premier League.
• The opening defeat by Austria was just the third in 15 matches for Igor Angelovski's side, eight of those having brought victories including a momentous 2-1 win away to Germany in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier on 31 March.
• North Macedonia's two pre-UEFA EURO 2020 friendlies, both in Skopje, brought a 1-1 draw with Slovenia, in which Eljif Elmas scored for the third successive international, and a 4-0 win against Kazakhstan that featured first international goals for Milan Ristovski – 12 minutes into his debut – and Darko Churlinov.
• Arijan Ademi and mid-season signing Stefan Ristovski were Croatian double winners with Dinamo Zagreb in 2020/21. They also helped the club reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League, each of them starting all six matches in the knockout phase against Krasnodar, Tottenham and eventual winners Villarreal.
• Other 2020/21 trophy winners in Angelovski's squad are Egzon Bejtulai, a North Macedonian champion with Shkëndija, Kire Ristevski, a Hungarian Cup winner with Újpest, and Krste Velkoski, who also lifted the domestic cup in Bosnia and Herzegovina with Sarajevo.
• Goran Pandev has now made 30 appearances in EURO matches – a record for a North Macedonia player. His goal against Austria enabled him to join Artim Šakiri and Ilčo Naumoski as his country’s joint top scorer in the competition.
• In scoring on Matchday 1, Pandev not only marked his tournament debut with a goal but also became, aged 37 years and 321 days, the second oldest player, after Austria's Ivica Vastic at UEFA EURO 2008, to score at the EURO finals – and the oldest to find the net in the tournament from open play. It was the North Macedonia skipper's 38th international goal on his 120th appearance.