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Oct 14, 2019 at 7.45pm UK
Yaremchuk (6'), Yarmolenko (27')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Ronaldo (72' pen.)

Preview: Ukraine vs. Portugal - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier between Ukraine and Portugal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Portugal's pursuit of Group B leaders Ukraine will continue on Monday night as Fernando Santos's side travel to Kiev for a potentially decisive Euro 2020 qualification fixture.

Ukraine are currently top of the section with 16 points - five points clear of second-placed Portugal, who have a game in hand as the race for first position hots up in the latter stages of the campaign.

Match preview

Ukraine boss Andriy Shevchenko pictured on September 7, 2019© Reuters

Since legendary forward Andriy Shevchenko took charge of Ukraine in the middle of 2016, the European nation have been in impressive form. Indeed, they have won 17 of their 30 fixtures under their current head coach - suffering just five defeats in the process.

The Main Team have hardly missed a beat during this qualification process, meanwhile, with a total of 16 points from six matches leaving them top of Group B. They have recorded five wins and one draw, in addition to scoring 13 times and conceding just once during an impressive campaign.

Shevchenko's side actually opened the section with a goalless draw in Portugal before embarking on a five-match winning run; they have beaten Luxembourg and Lithuania twice in their last five games, in addition to recording a thumping 5-0 home victory over Serbia towards the start of June.

Since becoming independent, Ukraine have failed to make it out of the group stages at a European Championships, losing all three of their games at the finals of Euro 2016. They have not actually been present at a World Cup since 2006, meanwhile, but they do appear to be heading in the right direction.

Indeed, a win over Portugal in Kiev would see them guarantee first position in the group and a spot at Euro 2020 ahead of their final match away to Serbia on November 17.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring against Switzerland in the UEFA Nations League on June 5, 2019.© Reuters

Despite winning their last three matches in the group, Portugal are playing catch-up at this stage of their campaign. Back-to-back draws against Ukraine and Serbia in their first two matches could come back to haunt them, although they will fancy their chances of picking up a positive result on Monday night.

Since the home draw with Serbia on March 25, Portugal have won in Serbia and Lithuania, in addition to beating Luxembourg on home soil last time out. Bernardo Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo and Goncalo Guedes scored the goals in Friday's match, which proved to be a comfortable 90 minutes for the UEFA Nations League winners.

Portugal will welcome Lithuania and travel to Luxembourg in their two games after this one, which is an indication of the importance of Monday's clash. Ronaldo & Co. will fancy their chances of recording a win, but Ukraine have shown themselves to be a very dangerous team during this qualification campaign.

It is difficult to write off the Iberian nation, however, due to the presence of a certain Ronaldo, who has now scored 94 times in 161 caps. They are, of course, also the holders of the European Championships having triumphed at Euro 2016 to lift the trophy for the first time.

There are perhaps teams better equipped to challenge for next year's crown, although the likes of Joao Felix, Ruben Dias and Ruben Neves suggest that there is a very bright future for A Selecao das Quinas.

Ukraine form: DWWWWW

Portugal form: DDWWW

Team News

Benfica's Ruben Dias celebrates with Portugal teammate Pepe in the UEFA Nations League in October, 2018© Reuters

Ukraine boss Shevchenko has no fresh injury concerns from the team that started against Lithuania on Friday night, where midfielder Ruslan Malinovskiy scored in a 2-0 win.

West Ham United's Andriy Yarmolenko and Manchester City's Oleksandr Zinchenko are both certain to keep their spots in midfield, while the experienced Taras Stepanenko should also start.

Further forward, Brazilian-born Junior Moraes is yet to score in five international appearances but should continue in the final third at the expense of Roman Yaremchuk.

As for Portugal, William Carvalho missed the win over Luxembourg through injury and that will again be the case here, meaning that Danilo Pereira should start in the holding midfield role.

The experienced Pepe should continue in central defence alongside Dias, while Ruben Neves is expected to come into the XI in place of fellow Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Joao Moutinho.

There are not expected to be any further changes from the side that started on Friday night, however, with Felix and Bernardo Silva again joining Ronaldo in the final third of the field.

Ukraine possible starting lineup: Pyatov; Bolbat, Krivtsov, Matviyenko, Sobol; Marlos, Malinovskiy, Stepanenko, Zinchenko, Yarmolenko; Junior Moraes

Portugal possible starting lineup: Patricio; Semedo, Dias, Pepe, Guerreiro; Neves, Danilo, Fernandes; Bernardo, Ronaldo, Felix

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We say: Ukraine 1-2 Portugal

It is a very tough one to call due to Ukraine's excellent form in the section. Portugal desperately need a result, though, and we just fancy the visitors to pick up three much-needed points courtesy of a narrow win.


Who will win Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier between Ukraine and Portugal?

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Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo during the match against Uruguay on June 30, 2018
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