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Full-time: Ukraine 0-2 Northern Ireland

  • Tournament debutants Northern Ireland bounce back from insipid defeat to Poland to seal first ever European Championship victory amid dreadful conditions at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon
  • Gareth McAuley scores his country's first major tournament goal since Colin Clarke's effort against Spain at the 1986 World Cup
  • The West Brom defender rises to power Oliver Norwood's free-kick past Andriy Pyatov
  • Much improved performance capped off in second-half stoppage time as substitute Niall McGinn sidefoots home from close range after shot from Steven Davis was saved
  • Kyle Lafferty controversially dropped in favour of Conor Washington as one of five bold changes made by Michael O'Neill, who was searching for a greater attacking threat
  • Match briefly suspended in the second half due to a persistent hailstorm
  • Other matches: England 2-1 Wales, Germany vs Poland
  • Follow all of Euro 2016 through our dedicated page

What a brilliant moment to savour for plucky Northern Ireland, who have secured their first ever win at the European Championships and a first at any major tournament since the 1982 World Cup in Spain. There will be parties on the streets of Lyon tonight.

O'Neill's men sit third in Group C ahead of tonight's clash between Germany and Poland, which you can follow live with my IBTimes UK colleague Josh Evans.



Ukraine 0-2 Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland wrap up a memorable victory with virtually the last kick of the game. Magennis bursts forward down the right and cuts the ball back for Davis, whose shot is parried by Pyatov. Substitute McGinn then reacts quickest to sidefoot the rebound home from close range.

Niall McGinn
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Goal: Ukraine 0-2 Northern Ireland (Niall McGinn)

McNair finally comes on for Corry Evans. Brother Jonny is then shown a yellow card in the dying minutes.

McAuley hacks away a Shevchuk header and McGovern shows great strength to come out and command his area with a robust punch to thwart any potential header from Zozulya.

Norwood is chopped down by Garmash and the pressure is momentarily relieved.

Like Konoplyanka, Yarmolenko has been almost totally anonymous tonight. With the clock ticking down towards the end of 90 minutes, he provides a brief reminder of his quality by forcing McGovern into a diving save with a testing strike from distance.

Six minutes of added time signalled by the fourth official as Konoplyanka flashes a shot wide.

Zinchenko's first touch is a header that looks to pose a real threat. Shevchuk then hacks a poor effort well wide.

Meanwhile, McNair is sent back to the bench in one of the most farcial scenes seen at Euro 2016 so far.

Confusion reigns over Northern Ireland's final substitution. McNair is the man to go on, but nobody seems to know who is supposed to be coming off.

Corry Evans' number goes up, but many seem to think it's Dallas. The Leeds United winger trudges off, only to be pushed back on by an increasingly irate O'Neill.

Denys Garmash, who has come on for Sydorchuk, almost capitalises on Jonny Evans' risky touch back to McGovern.

A change for both sides now, with Josh Magennis on for Washington and Oleksandr Zinchenko replacing Kovalenko.

Ukraine vs Northern Ireland

Kovalenko snatches at another shot and Jonny Evans berates Norwood for his carelessness in possession.

Shevchuk then rises above Hughes to flick on a long ball forward but it runs too far ahead of Zozulya and McGovern can collect.

Seleznyov is taken off as Fomenko sends on Zozulya. He does not look happy with the decision and sits down briefly before heading straight down the tunnel.

Ukraine go close when Seleznyov chests the ball down for Kovalenko, who slightly slices his powerfull half-volley and it arrows wide of the post.

Sydorchuk picks up a deserved yellow card for a late foul on Corry Evans. O'Neill then makes his first change of the evening, replacing the hard working Ward with Aberdeen's Niall McGinn.

Jamie Ward

Ward looks bemused as he is dragged down by Shevchuk but ends up being booked himself for an earlier infringement. A fine piece of skill from Dallas takes him to the byline, where his cross beats Khacheridi but falls beyond Corry Evans.

Northern Ireland are enjoying themselves just at the moment. Ukraine are offering nothing at all and Konoplyanka runs the ball out of play.

Was that the shortest temporary delay in football history? After around about 120 seconds, the players are back on the pitch and the game is underway once more.

Northern Ireland were understandably peeved about that stoppage, given how well they were playing. Reading midfielder Norwood made his feelings quite clear to the referee.

With big hailstones continuing to fall, the referee takes the unpopular decision to suspend the match.

Both sets of teams have retreated to the tunnel until the weather eases up somewhat.

Ukraine vs Northern Ireland
Julian Finney/Getty Images

The torrential downpour continues and the moisture on the surface is making the bounce of the ball somewhat unpredictable. Norwood tries his luck with a hopeful shot that fizzes all the way through to Pyatov.

Washington then fails to make a proper connection on Davis' high cross.

Ukraine almost hit back immediately. It's another header from a free-kick, but this time McGovern is able to save from Seleznyov.

The Hamilton goalkeeper then spills the latest curling Konoplyanka delivery before claiming it at the second attempt.

Moments after making that key intervention in his own penalty box, McAuley registers a significant impact at the other end to notch Northern Ireland's first goal at a major tournament since Colin Clarke against Spain at the 1986 World Cup.

The experienced West Brom centre-back runs off the back of Khacheridi and emphatically heads Norwood's enticing free-kick past Pyatov.

Gareth McAuley
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Goal: Ukraine 0-1 Northern Ireland (Gareth McAuley)

McAuley takes decisive action to head Konoplyanka's free-kick out under pressure from Khacheridi. From the resulting corner, Hughes gets caught under the ball at the near post and Seleznyov sends a bullet header wide.

The second half is underway. Awful conditions in Lyon, where the rain is absolutely hammering down.


It's not been a classic by any means in wet conditions, but Northern Ireland supporters will be more encouraged with what they have seen so far in Lyon. They looked content to let Ukraine dominate possession in the early stages and play on the counter, but they finished a tight half in the ascendancy.

Michael O'Neill

O'Neill's side just need to find a bit more composure in the penalty area and continue to cause problems at set-pieces. Konoplyanka and Yarmolenko are yet to have any real impact on the game.


Ukraine 0-0 Northern Ireland

Konoplyanka overhits another searching pass to Viktor Kovalenko and that should do it for the opening 45 minutes.

Northern Ireland come again in the closing stages of the first half. Ward opts to run at 37-year-old Shevchuk, yet his looping cross towards Dallas is easily cut out by Pyatov.

Davis slips inside the right-hand channel to collect a clever free-kick from Norwood. He is met by a sliding Shevchuk but still manages to produce a powerful strike that is parried away by Pyatov.

At the other end, Konoplyanka weaves his way into the box but sees his shot blocked.

Northern Ireland are beginning to get a real foothold in this game now and Khacheridi has to be alert to clear Ward's low ball before it can reach Washington.

Seleznyov then picks up the first yellow card of the afternoon for a kick on Jonny Evans.

Ward wins another corner with an ambitious shot from distance that deflects behind off Shevchuk. His latest delivery is met by McAuley and loops into the arms of Pyatov.

Gareth McAuley

That has to go down as Northern Ireland's best opportunity of the competition so far. Craig Cathcart soars above his marker to head Ward's corner agonisingly wide.

Corry Evans, younger brother of fellow Northern Ireland international Jonny, draws the ire of Davis as he elects to shoot instead of teeing up his captain in space on the edge of the box.

He does, however, win a corner.

It took 32 minutes for the now infamous "Will Grigg's on fire" chant to start doing the rounds inside the Parc Olympique Lyonnais. The popular Wigan striker did not get on against Poland and is a substitute again this afternoon.

Ward has some joy down the Ukraine left, sending in a cross to the near post that Rakitskiy fails to cut out on the slide. Washington goes down under the slightest of pushes from centre-back Yevhen Khacheridi.

No penalty.

Conor Washington

Konoplyanka wastes a free-kick in a promising area before Taras Stepanenko is fortunate to get away with a risky pass on the edge of his own penalty area. Washington was lurking menacingly.

The 24th minute brings a round of applause for the late Darren Rodgers from Ballymena in County Antrim.

Yarmolenko beats his marker and is inches away from picking out Seleznyov in the six-yard box. The rain is really beginning to fall hard in Lyon.

Ukraine vs Northern Ireland

Yaroslav Rakitskiy's long-range effort causes few problems for McGovern.

Ukraine continue to probe as Konoplyanka drifts in from the left and tries to find Artem Fedetskiy. However, he gets a bit too much power on the lofted pass and it drifts behind for a goal kick.

Still goalless as we approach the 20-minute mark.

Ukraine are enjoying decent spells of possession early on, but O'Neill appears eager for his side to break quickly and capitalise of the pace of Washington and Ward in behind.

The ball falls once again for Sydorchuk, but his shot flies harmlessly over the crossbar.

Northern Ireland's first shot in anger comes from skipper Steven Davis, but the Southampton midfielder drags the ball well wide of Pyatov's right-hand post.

Norwood dwells in possession for too long in his own half and is easily dispossessed by Serhiy Sydorchuk. The Dynamo Kiev midfielder races forward and unleashes a drive that is blocked by the hand of McAuley.

No danger of a penalty, given that his arms were clearly by his side and there was no apparent movement towards the ball.

Serhiy Sydorchuk
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Captain Vyacheslav Shevchuk gets past Ward down the left-hand side. He looks to pick out Seleznyov with a whipped cross, but Gareth McAuley does well to snuff out the danger.

Washington has started this game very well, pressing hard and giving Ukraine's defence preciously little time to settle on the ball. Dallas cuts inside and fires a right-footed effort on goal that skips up off the turf before being held by Andriy Pyatov.

Washington wins an early corner for Northern Ireland, but Konoplyanka eventually heads clear. Oliver Norwood looks to fire a couple of searching crosses into the penalty area.

Czech referee Pavel Kralovec gets us off and running. With no points or goals to their name so far, both teams will be desperate for a victory here.

With the national anthems complete, we are just about ready to get underway. There will be no minute's silence, but Northern Ireland are wearing black armbands in memory of supporter Darren Rodgers. The 24-year-old tragically died in an accident in Nice on Sunday.

Northern Ireland tribute

These two sides have met four times previously, with Ukraine winning twice during qualifying for the 1998 World Cup. O'Neill actually played during a 1-0 home defeat.

The last two contests ended in goalless draws. Hopefully that's not an omen for today.

We're all set for an explosion of colour in Lyon this afternoon...

Ukraine vs Northern Ireland
Julian Finney/Getty Images
Ukraine vs Northern Ireland
Ukraine vs Northern Ireland

Fomenko, meanwhile, has called upon his team to reduce their profligacy after wasting too many chances against Germany.

We need to create as many chances as we did against Germany and this time convert them. The most important thing is to recover psychologically, but the players are good and have recovered well. We're prepared physically and mentally. The players need a steely mentality.

Every team plays how it can, and I think Northern Ireland will play the same way tomorrow. We'll try to seize our opportunity and score. I think they'll apply a lot of pressure. That's the main principle of this game: apply pressure and wait for a reaction. Our players understand this perfectly.

Speaking in yesterday's pre-match press conference, O'Neill outlined the need for Northern Ireland to be more effective at the "ugly side" of the game.

The first game was a disappointment and we've looked at that closely. The players will use that as motivation. It's not as though we're cut drift. The players' minds are focused and they're determined to do well tomorrow. We believe we're capable of playing better with the ball and stamping our authority on the game. We need to find a better balance.

The game between Ukraine and Germany was excellent. We saw the strong points of the Ukraine team. They're a threat at set pieces and had chances. We have to be prepared to match their physicality. One thing we didn't do in our game was the ugly side – and that's something we generally do well. By which I mean our level of competitiveness, because every game in this tournament has been extremely competitive.

Just one change from Fomenko, who starts Yevhen Seleznyov of Shakhtar Donetsk up front. Dnipro's Roman Zozulya is replaced.

Konoplyanka will be a tough assignment for 36-year-old Hughes, who wins his 101st cap in Lyon.

Ukraine XI to face Northern Ireland: Pyatov, Fedetskyi, Khacheridi, Rakitskiy, Shevchuk, Yarmolenko, Sydorchuk, Stepanenko, Konoplyanka, Kovalenko, Seleznyov

The decision to drop Lafferty, who has scored 17 goals in his 52 senior caps to date, is causing something of a stir across social media. It looks like Northern Ireland will be switching to a 4-3-3 system.


O'Neill was rightly unhappy with his team's lacklustre performance against Poland and responds by making five bold changes to his starting XI. Kyle Lafferty, who has suffered from a lack of regular club football over recent seasons but still managed to net seven goals in qualifying, makes way for QPR frontman Washington.


Veteran defender Aaron Hughes, Corry Evans, Stuart Dallas and Jamie Ward also come in as Conor McLaughlin, Shane Ferguson, Chris Baird and Paddy McNair all drop to the bench. With no known injury concerns, Northern Ireland are clearly seeking a far greater attacking edge.

Northern Ireland XI to face Ukraine: McGovern, Hughes, Cathcart, McAuley, J.Evans, C.Evans, Davis, Norwood, Ward, Washington, Dallas

The full-time whistle has just blown in Lens, where England have bounced back from a half-time deficit for the very first time at a major tournament thanks to a stoppage-time winner from substitute Daniel Sturridge.

Woeful goalkeeping from Joe Hart had allowed Gareth Bale to give Wales a first-half lead against the run of play, but the usually conservative Roy Hodgson went for broke with three very attacking changes and got his reward when Jamie Vardy capitalised on a rogue header from Ashley Williams to beat Wayne Hennessey.

That win takes England to the top of Group B.

While Northern Ireland have never previously qualified for the Euros, Ukraine appeared for the first time as an independent nation by co-hosting with Poland in 2012 and opened with a 2-1 win over Sweden thanks to a brace from assistant coach Andriy Shevchenko. That was as good as it got, however, with subsequent defeats to France and England leading to a group stage exit.

Jerome Boateng
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

This time around, they were handed a tough first assignment against world champions Germany in Lille and lost 2-0 courtesy of goals from Shkodran Mustafi and late substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger. Toni Kroos ran the show for Die Mannschaft, although Mykhaylo Fomenko's men almost scored via a Mustafi own goal only for a brilliant last-ditch clearance from Jerome Boateng. Manuel Neuer also made several good stops.

Ukraine boast two serious wide threats in Yevhen Konoplyanka of Sevilla and Dynamo Kiev's Andriy Yarmolenko. They will look at today's fixture as their best chance of securing three points in Group C.

After a 30-year absence from major tournament football, three-time World Cup qualifiers Northern Ireland looked thoroughly overawed in their opening match against Poland in Nice on Sunday. Although Michael O'Neill's side competently shackled the considerable threat of Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, they offered virtually no attacking threat of their own before improving slightly when Conor Washington joined the hopelessly isolated Kyle Lafferty up front. A paltry record of only two shots at goal - and none on target - rather told the tale.

Kyle Lafferty

There was certainly no shortage of defensive effort on display, meanwhile, but their opponents finally made their domination count six minutes after the break when Arkadiusz Milik beat goalkeeper Michael McGovern with a low effort after being teed up by Jakub Blaszczykowski. Northern Ireland simply must be braver on the ball today if they are to stand any chance of qualifying for the last 16 with Germany lying in wait.

Good afternoon and welcome to IBTimes UK's latest comprehensive live coverage from Uefa Euro 2016. A great deal of the build-up ahead of Thursday's triple-header of matches has centred upon two old rivalries in England vs Wales and Germany vs Poland, but shortly our attentions will turn to Lyon where Northern Ireland and Ukraine look to break their respective Group C ducks.

Ukraine vs Northern Ireland

All the build-up and latest team news to come from the 59,186-capacity Parc Olympique Lyonnais shortly. We'll also have minute-by-minute updates after kick-off at 17.00 BST.