EURO 2016: Northern Ireland v Ukraine past meetings

Keith Gillespie gets beteen two Ukraine defenders Radchenko and Kormylstev during a Euro 2004 qualifier in Belfast
Keith Gillespie gets beteen two Ukraine defenders Radchenko and Kormylstev during a Euro 2004 qualifier in Belfast

Northern Ireland meet Ukraine in Euro 2016 on Thursday hoping to record their first ever victory over the Eastern European nation.

Here, ahead of their fifth meeting in Lyon, News Letter Sport looks back at their past contests.

Northern Ireland 0 Ukraine 1 (Belfast, World Cup qualifier, August 31, 1996)

Michael O’Neill and Jim Magilton, who are the current senior and under-21 manager respectively for the Northern Irish team, both came on in the first meeting between the two, which was the opening clash in their 1998 World Cup qualifying campaign. O’Neill was also booked a minute before Sergei Rebrov scored the only goal of the game in Belfast.

Ukraine 2 Northern Ireland 1 (Kiev, World Cup qualifier, April 2, 1997)

The return contest in Kiev saw Ukraine seal their second and most recent victory over Northern Ireland. Vitaliy Kosovskyi broke the deadlock but Iain Dowie, the only Northern Irishman to score against the Ukrainians, levelled from the spot. Yet Andriy Shevchenko would fire in a winner with 19 minutes remaining. Ukraine finished second in a group which featured Germany and Portugal, but missed out on the World Cup following a play-off loss to Croatia.

Northern Ireland 0 Ukraine 0 (Belfast, European Championship qualifier, October 16, 2002)

For the fifth successive game, Sammy McIlroy’s team failed to score a goal as Northern Ireland struggled to trouble a defence featuring Arsenal’s Oleg Luzhny. It was the first point McIlroy’s team had accrued during their qualifying group. Aaron Hughes played in that game while Roy Carroll and Chris Baird, also in the squad at Euro 2016, were unused substitutes.

Ukraine 0 Northern Ireland 0 (Donetsk, European Championship qualifier, September 6, 2003)

The goal drought continued for McIlroy’s men in another stalemate. For the 11th successive game, Northern Ireland failed to score and there was a countdown as they passed 1,000 minutes without finding the net. Adopting a chant from The Proclaimers’ hit, the travelling support chanted: “I would wait 500 minutes and I would wait 500 more, just to be the man who waits a thousand minutes to see our wee country score.”