Sitting in second position in Group C – six points behind England, albeit having played one fewer match – Ukraine manager Serhiy Rebrov notably recalled Mykhailo Mudryk and Roman Yaremchuk to his starting eleven after the pair were not part of the matchday squad for the 1-0 victory over Malta in June.
Meanwhile, in pursuit of extending their so-far unblemished EURO2024 qualification campaign to five matches, Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate named a strong lineup, with James Maddison preferred to Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden on the left-hand side.
UKR: Bushchan; Konoplya, Zabarnyi, Mykolenko, Matviyenko; Stepanenko, Zinchenko; Sudakov, Tsyhankov, Mudryk; Yaremchuk
ENG: Pickford; Walker, Guéhi, Maguire, Chilwell; Rice, Bellingham, Henderson; Maddison, Saka, Kane
On the brink of qualifying for their fourth successive European Championship finals, England dominated proceedings throughout the opening quarter-hour, amassing over three-quarters of the early possessional battle. However, against the run of play, it would be Ukraine who would break the deadlock in the 26th minute with their very first attack of the game, as Oleksandr Zinchenko inconspicuously arrived into the penalty area ahead of Arsenal teammate Declan Rice to fire Yukhym Konoplya’s expertly-taken pull-back beyond Jordan Pickford.
Ominously for England, they were winless in their last six matches after conceding the game’s opener, but eventually made their dominance pay dividends. Without a celebratory goal on the international stage in 77 appearances, Kyle Walker brought an end to his barren run in the 41st minute, as the marauding-forward wing-back survived a painstaking offside check from VAR to eventually be allowed to lawfully celebrate firing Harry Kane’s defence-splitting pass beyond Georgiy Bushchan.
Seeking to protect their recently one-sided head-to-head record after ending up on the losing side only once across their last eight encounters, England were inches away from completing their comeback moments before the hour-mark as Bushchan spectacularly tipped Saka’s fearsome strike onto the crossbar. Despite the introductions of both Rashford and Foden off the substitutes’ bench, Saka’s opportunity would frustratingly turn out to be England’s final noteworthy opportunity on Bushchan’s goal on the evening.
A point apiece in Wrocław leaves England’s road to Germany in their own hands, ahead of their return to the familiar shores of the United Kingdom where the Three Lions will face Scotland in a mouthwatering friendly at Hampden Park. On the other hand, Ukraine will remain in European Championship qualification mode, as the Blue and Yellow travel to the San Siro to face Italy on Tuesday evening.