Friday, October 11, 2013

Ukraine vs Poland

As if the border rivalry wasn't enough to give Friday's game between Ukraine and Poland some extra spice, both teams are still in contention for World Cup qualification heading in. At the moment it's advantage to the hosts, Ukraine, who are occupying the second-place playoff spot, a point behind leaders England, level with Montenegro and two ahead of Poland.

That means there's still four teams fighting over the top two places with only two games left -- a rare occurrence. The history books suggest Ukraine have the advantage when they host Poland on Friday, having not been beaten by their Eastern European neighbours since a World Cup qualifier in 2000, alongside winning this campaign's reverse fixture back in March.

For this match, Ukraine have almost a full-strength team available, though will be without long-term absentee Denys Harmash and the suspended Oleksandr Kucher. Midfielder Roman Bezus is in doubt. Poland have several players out with injury, including Borussia Dortmund full-back Łukasz Piszczek and Sampdoria defender Bartosz Salamon, as well as first-team regular Maciej Rybus.

Projected lineups

Ukraine: Andriy Pyatov; Vyacheslav Shevchuk, Yevhen Khacheridi, Yaroslav Rakitsky, Artem Fedetskiy; Edmar, Taras Stepanenko; Yevhen Konoplyanka, Andriy Yarmolenko, Oleh Husyev; Roman Zozulya

Poland: Artur Boruc; Jakub Wawrzyniak, Kamil Glik, Łukasz Szukała, Artur Jędrzejczyk; Mateusz Klich, Grzegorz Krychowiak; Waldemar Sobota, Piotr Zieliński, Jakub Błaszczykowski; Robert Lewandowski

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