Euro 2016 Day 12: Northern Ireland look to shock Germany, Spain face Croatia test

Northern Ireland look to stun world champions Germany, Poland look to secure a last 16 spot against Ukraine, Croatia face a tough Spain challenge and Turkey look for their first points against Czech Republic.

Northern Ireland v Germany
1700 ~ Parc des Princes, Paris

Northern Ireland are assured of at least third place in group C and with just one defeat in their last 14 games, gaffer Michael O’Neill is out to cause a shock against Germany to all but guarantee a place in the knockout stages.

Niall McGinn's injury time goal made sure of Northern Ireland's first ever Euros victory image: skysports.com

Niall McGinn’s injury time goal made sure of Northern Ireland’s first ever Euros victory
image: skysports.com

“If we can take something from the game, we would be in a very strong position,” said the Portadown man.

” I think you go into the game full of confidence given the level of performance and the result against Ukraine. These are the moments you really cherish and I’ve no doubt that our players will take that attitude into the game and perform on the night.”

World champions Germany have yet to show they can win the double at Euro 2016 but Germany’s assistant manager Thomas Schneider said they are aiming to finish top of their group.

“We have always stated that we want to finish top of our group,” said the 43-year-old.

“We respect our opposition. Northern Ireland didn’t qualify as a best third-placed side; they had a great qualification campaign and won their group.”

Team News

Northern Ireland manager O’Neill may resort to a defensive system against Germany with Conor McLaughlin and Paddy McNair coming back into the team, while striker Kyle Lafferty is also pushing for a recall to the starting XI.

Germany could start with striker Mario Gomez up front in place of the out-of-form Mario Gotze, while trio Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil are one yellow away from a one-match ban.

Ukraine v Poland
1700 ~ Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

Ukraine have already been eliminated from Euro 2016 after two defeats in their opening two games and manager Mykhaylo Formenko admitted he will make changes as Ukraine look to go out on a high note.

Poland held Germany to a scoreless draw image: theguardian.com

Poland held Germany to a scoreless draw
image: theguardian.com

“It’s not very good to make a lot of changes to the team, but there will definitely be some,” said the 67-year-old.

“My players understand they have one more game to go in such a huge tournament and they’ll do everything to correct the mistakes they’ve made in previous matches. They will try to play as they should have done.”

After holding world Champions Germany to a draw Poland are assured a spot in the last 16 and as they look to snatch top spot in group C, head coach Adam Nawalka is taking nothing for granted against already eliminated Ukraine.

“This is now our most important match – that’s our approach,” said the ex-midfielder.

“Ukraine are a good side with highly talented players. They appear in European competitions with their clubs, so that’s why we need to be well-prepared, both emotionally and tactically.”

Team News

Ukraine could start Denys Boyko in-goal in place of Andriy Pyatov after two unconvincing displays against Germany and Northern Ireland in what could be one of many changes to the already eliminated Ukraine.

Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski will once again start in-goal for Poland in place of the injured Wojciech Szczesny, while Kamil Grosicki, Bartosz Kapustka, Krzysztof Maczynski, Lukasz Piszczek and Slawomir Peszko are all one booking away from a suspension.

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