West Ham continued their excellent Europa League campaign with a 2-0 win at Rapid Vienna to confirm their place at the top of Group H on Thursday.

David Moyes' men are fourth in the Premier League but have arguably been even more impressive in Europe, with this their fourth victory in five matches.

Goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Mark Noble shortly before half-time teed up a straightforward triumph, albeit one that was played out without a crowd as a lockdown kept home fans away after West Ham's travelling supporters had already been banned.

The Rapid faithful would not have been particularly impressed by what they saw if they had been present, as the margin of West Ham's victory could have been wider.

Jarrod Bowen passed up a huge chance for an early opener when he toed Arthur Masuaku's superb sixth-minute cross agonisingly wide, but West Ham had the lead they merited six minutes from the end of the first half.

Yarmolenko nodded Nikola Vlasic's teasing centre back across Paul Gartler for his first Hammers goal since January, before the scorer earned a clip from Maximilian Hofmann for a stoppage-time spot-kick, which Noble dispatched.

West Ham kept pushing and Bowen was wasteful again when he shot straight at Gartler at the end of a wonderful run and then when he blasted against the legs of retreating defender Filip Stojkovic after the goalkeeper had parried Tomas Soucek's header following a smart initial save.

Rapid threatened only fleetingly at the other end, as West Ham's comfortable position meant they could disregard events elsewhere in the group and hand a debut to Sonny Perkins, who almost scored with his first touch on a productive night for the visitors.

What does it mean? Hammers in complete control

West Ham's stunning start to this campaign meant it would take a remarkable collapse not to advance to the knockout stage, but they took apart Rapid on matchday five just to make sure.

Although there were occasional lulls in the game, West Ham were always in control with 61.2 per cent of the possession, while their 12 shots had a collective value of 4.15 expected goals (xG).

Masuaku makes his mark

Knee surgery restricted Masuaku to 12 Premier League appearances last season, and Aaron Cresswell established himself as a surefire starter under Moyes in that time.

But the fit-again left-back took his opportunity to impress with an all-action display in Austria. Only Noble had more touches than Masuaku (92) at the time of his substitution, as he excelled at both ends, creating two chances while also making three interceptions, two tackles and two clearances.

Bowen off the boil

If West Ham have great depth at full-back, the same is not quite true up front. Michail Antonio was rested for this match, meaning Bowen played through the middle in the absence of an obvious natural alternative.

While it feels a little harsh to criticise Moyes' attack in a comprehensive win, Bowen alone could have stretched the scoreline significantly. The winger failed with three shots worth a combined 1.81 xG.

What's next?

Having taken care of business, West Ham can return their focus to the Premier League and a trip to Manchester City. Their next Europa League assignment is at home to Dinamo Zagreb on December 9, when Rapid go to Genk.

If Tuesday's first knockout game at Euro 2020 was billed as a battle to secure a straightforward run to the final, the late kick-off was all about Ukraine and Sweden seizing an opportunity to prove the doubters wrong.

After overcoming their old rivals Germany at Wembley Stadium, England will be strongly favoured to reach the competition's showpiece by progressing through the kindest side of the draw.

Yet every other nation alongside them will also sense the possibility of making history at a tournament that has already seen its fair share of upsets.

It is Ukraine who will get the chance to shock the Three Lions in Rome on Saturday, having claimed a 2-1 win over Sweden with a goal in stoppage time of extra time.

And, though Andriy Shevchenko's side did not produce the most convincing of performances in winning, they showed enough to prove that they may yet keep a dream run going.

 

Two up top back in fashion

Strike pairings are often considered a relic of a bygone era but both Ukraine and Sweden started this game with two up top.

Swedish duo Alexander Isak and Emil Forsberg were arguably the more threatening throughout, with the latter in particular continuing his remarkable tournament.

The RB Leipzig midfielder took six shots - twice as many as any other player on the pitch managed - across the 120 minutes as he led the way. Those attempts returned one goal - Forsberg's fourth of the competition - but he would have been celebrating a victory had two fine efforts not cannoned back off the post in the second half.

As for Ukraine, they began with captain Andriy Yarmolenko alongside Roman Yaremchuk, and both showed why they might cause problems for opponents deeper into the competition.

The pair laid on a shot apiece for each other across their time on the pitch together, while Yarmolenko picked out a beauty of an assist for Oleksandr Zinchenko's opening goal.

That meant the West Ham man has now been directly involved in five goals for Ukraine at major tournaments (2 goals, 3 assists); the joint-most of any player for the country, along with his current manager Shevchenko (5).

As for Shevchenko the tactician, he was rewarded for sticking to his guns by keeping men in the Swedish box as Yarmolenko's replacement Artem Dovbyk headed home the winner.

England's defenders know they will have their hands full when they come up against Ukraine's forwards this weekend.

 

Lack of experience could hurt Ukraine

Prior to this outing, Ukraine had lost seven of their past eight European Championship games.

The only exception was the victory over minnows North Macedonia in their group that proved just enough to bring them to the knockout stages of this year's tournament.

Never before have the Ukrainians gone this deep at a Euros, nor have they ever done better than reaching the quarter-finals in World Cup history, doing so in 2006 when their manager Shevchenko was part of the squad a player.

That lack of experience and the extra minutes in the legs provided by extra time at Hampden Park will surely encourage England.

Gareth Southgate's side are aiming to follow up a World Cup semi-final in 2018 with another deep run at a major competition - know-how could be crucial.

Ukraine are not the only team still left standing who had to work overtime to progress, either. Their clash with Sweden was the fourth Euro 2020 last-16 tie to finish level at the end of 90 minutes (also Italy v Austria, Croatia v Spain and France v Switzerland), the most ever in a single knockout round.

Andriy Shevchenko insists Ukraine have "nothing to lose" against Sweden as his side aim to reach the European Championship quarter-finals for the first time.

Ukraine's only previous appearance in the knockout stages of a major competition came at the 2006 World Cup when eliminating Switzerland before losing to Italy in the last eight.

The Eastern European nation hardly boast the best of records at the Euros, either, having lost seven of their last eight games.

However, a 2-1 win over North Macedonia, bookended by defeats to the Netherlands and Austria, proved enough for Ukraine to progress as one of the best third-placed sides.

Sweden await at Hampden Park on Tuesday and head coach Shevchenko believes his players can be proud whatever the result in Glasgow.

"We have travelled a long way to be here. We have achieved the result we wanted and have nothing to lose now," he said. "Everything else will be a big bonus for us.

"I think we played a good group stage. We played well against the Dutch and we put in a good performance against North Macedonia. Austria were very strong opponents. 

"But Sweden are well prepared tactically and have good individual players."

Sweden topped a group containing Spain, Poland and Slovakia to reach the knockouts of the Euros for a third time, having made it to the 1992 semi-finals and quarter-finals in 2004.

Despite coming through a difficult group with seven points from nine, Sweden boss Janne Andersson is taking nothing for granted against Ukraine.

"They are a good team; they know how to switch from defence to attack," he said. "They looked worn out against Austria, but like us they've had some rest – even more actually.

"After the last game I gathered the players and told them I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world than in that room with them."

 


KEY PLAYERS

Sweden – Emil Forsberg 

The RB Leipzig man has been one of the star performers of Euro 2020 so far, scoring the only goal against Slovakia from the penalty spot before netting twice against Poland.

It has been quite the turnaround for the 29-year-old, who has now scored four goals in his last four games for Sweden, following a previous run of 11 games without a goal.

Forsberg could yet write his name in Swedish football folklore, with Kennet Andersson (five) and Martin Dahlin (four) the only players to score more than three goals for the country in a single major tournament, both doing so at the 1994 World Cup.

Ukraine – Andriy Yarmolenko

West Ham forward Yarmolenko scored twice and assisted another during the group stage, including a 25-yard goal of the tournament contender in the 3-2 loss to the Netherlands.

No Ukraine player has ever been involved in more goals than Yarmolenko at a major tournament, level with team-mate Roman Yaremchuk, who has also played a big part in his side's progression to the last 16.


KEY OPTA FACTS

– This will be the fifth meeting between Sweden and Ukraine, with Sweden's only victory coming in a friendly in August 2011 (D1 L2).

– The last meeting between Sweden and Ukraine was at Euro 2012, with Ukraine coming from behind to win 2-1 thanks to a brace from current manager Shevchenko.

– Of the teams to reach the last 16 at Euro 2020, no side faced more shots on target in the group stages than Ukraine (16, level with Wales).

– Sweden made the fewest successful passes (591) and had the lowest passing accuracy (69.9 per cent) of any side in the group stages at Euro 2020. Of the teams to reach the last 16, they also had the lowest average possession rate (29.6 per cent).

– Sweden scored with 44 per cent of their shots on target in the group stages of Euro 2020 (4/9), with only Portugal having a higher such ratio of teams to reach the last 16 (50 per cent - 7/14).

Ukraine boosted their chances of reaching the Euro 2020 knockout phase with a 2-1 victory over North Macedonia on Thursday.

Andriy Yarmolenko scored the opener and set up Roman Yaremchuk to make it 2-0 in a dominant first-half display from Andriy Shevchenko's side in Bucharest.

North Macedonia, beaten by Austria on matchday one, improved after the break and pulled a goal back through Ezgjan Alioski after the Leeds United man saw his penalty saved.

Ruslan Malinovskiy also erred from the spot, meaning as many have been missed at this tournament (four) as in the whole of Euro 2016, but it did not cost Ukraine an important three points in Group C.

Ukraine carried a threat from the off, Stole Dimitrievski saving from Malinovskiy and Yarmolenko, while Stefan Ristovski made a brilliant block on Yaremchuk.

The breakthrough came just before the half-hour mark, Yarmolenko finishing at the far post after Oleksandr Karavaev's inspired flick-on from Malinovskiy's corner.

It was 2-0 five minutes later, Yaremchuk slotting a cool finish past Dimitrievski after a clever first-time pass from Yarmolenko.

Goran Pandev produced a clever chipped finish but the goal was disallowed for offside, as North Macedonia ended the half without a shot on target.

However, they did halve the deficit 11 minutes after the restart, Alioski expertly finishing on the rebound after his penalty had been well saved by Georgi Bushchan.

Viktor Tsygankov studded a great chance wide barely five minutes after coming off the Ukraine bench, and Malinovskiy saw his spot-kick parried by Dimitrievski after a VAR review saw Daniel Avramovski penalised for handball.

North Macedonia applied some late pressure to no avail, with their tournament now looking likely to come to an end after the group stage is concluded.

What does it mean? Ukraine back in contention for knockouts

Ukraine's victory means they are right back in the mix to finish in Group C's top two. If the Netherlands defeat Austria, Shevchenko's men will be guaranteed to finish at least second with a win on matchday three.

North Macedonia, meanwhile, could soon be facing elimination. Should the later game finish in anything other than an Austria win, the European Championship newcomers will be unable to advance to the knockout rounds.

Yarmolenko sparkles

Yarmolenko has now scored in three consecutive Ukraine matches for the first time since October 2016, while their last player to score in consecutive games at a major finals was Shevchenko himself at the 2006 World Cup.

The West Ham forward provided the clinical touches in attack in the first half and showed off with a few tricks, highlighting the calibre of player the Hammers would have if he could now sustain his fitness.

Too little, too late from Angelovski's men

Igor Angelovski made two changes at half-time and it was one of those replacements, Aleksandar Trajkovski, whose stunning attempt led to the penalty after it was tipped onto the crossbar.

Their possessions swung from 36.6 per cent in the first half to 62.5 in the second, the shot count more than doubled to 10 in total, but they were left with too much to do by the time they adopted a bolder approach.

What's next?

Ukraine conclude their group stage against Austria in Bucharest, with North Macedonia facing the Netherlands in Amsterdam. Both games are on June 21.

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