Euro Betting: Ukraine vs England
Euro Quarter-Finals | July 3 | Rome
Their Euros So Far
It’s fair to say that both sides are following the somewhat cliched, but oft successful path of ‘growing into the tournament.’ For Ukraine, their group performances were mixed, and it actually took Sweden beating Poland deep into injury time for Andriy Shevchenko’s men to progress. The fact they then ended up playing and beating Sweden in the last minute of extra-time in their last 16 tie to help them now reach the quarter-finals is almost Shakespearean in its drama!
Ukraine have had some talismanic figures and performances in their historic Euro campaign so far, in only their second ever Euro this is the furthest they have progressed in the competition. Could they go even further?
With Man City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko chipping in with goals and towering performances so far, and goals from Roman Yaremchuk and West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko, Ukraine will be hoping these figures can step up once again against England.
Their performance against Sweden was filled with grit and guile, with both goals in their 2-1 win typifying each characteristic perfectly. For the first, the vision of Yarmolenko for his cross to Zinchenko was ingenious in its creativity. For the winner, with inevitable penalties literally seconds away, a hopeful cross leading to a winning header from substitute Artem Dovbyk demonstrated never-say-die desire of the highest order.
For England meanwhile, their Euro campaign has been intentionally slow and steady, with Southgate organising a squad and strategy build on a conservative approach with a clinical finish. This has been validated by the fact they are yet to concede a goal so far, won two group games by a single goal, then two late finishes against Germany. A positively ominous stat for English fans is that the last time England kept four clean sheets in their opening four games of a tournament was back in 1966. I’m sure they all know how that ended!
In terms of key players so far, the standout figure is Raheem Sterling, scoring England’s first three goals of the Euro 2020 tournament, the first to do so at a tournament since Gary Lineker in 1990. It was also significant for Harry Kane to break his goal-drought, with the England Captain surely confident and hopeful of building on his tally for the rest of the tournament.
Substitute Jack Grealish also proved vital, being part of the first goal against Germany, and providing the assist for the second. He will now be hoping to play a bigger part for the Three Lions for the rest of the tournament.
Euro Squad News
Following their victorious yet torturously exhaustive 120 minutes against Sweden, Ukraine will be monitoring the fitness and energy levels of their squad ahead of the Euro quarter-final with England. This may mean changes in certain positions, especially when they have a squad with several players over 30.
One player who will definitely not be available for selection is Artem Besedin. The striker came on as a substitute during the Sweden game, but just minutes after coming on he suffered an excruciating and unfortunate injury when Swede defender Marcus Danielson cleared a ball and inadvertently followed through on Besedin’s knee, causing his leg to bend in extreme fashion. Danielson was sent off for the offence, but it has also led to Besedin being sent home for the remainder of Ukraine’s historic Euro campaign.
For Gareth Southgate’s side, there are no fresh injury concerns, just considerations of suspension hazards and giving valuable game time to key squad players. Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice both picked up yellow cards against Germany, so either or both of them could be replaced to avoid missing the semi-finals. Jordan Henderson is available and in need of match action.
Following his excellent and effective substitute appearance, Jack Grealish will be hoping he’s stake his claim for a start in Rome, whilst Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho will be hoping to ge back into the side.
There have been just eight fixtures between the sides, with England winning 4 to Ukraine’s solitary victory, which was a 1-0 home win in a 2010 World Cup qualifier. England had won the previous home tie at Wembley 2-1, current manager Shevchenko getting the consolation goal for Ukraine.
The most recent encounters between the Euro quarter-finalists came in 2012 and 2013; the first was a Euro 2012 group game with England edging a 1-0 win courtesy of Wayne Rooney. The latter two were more World Cup qualifiers with each game being draws, one a 1-1 draw at Wembley, where England needed a late Frank Lampard penalty to share the points.
So, will England build on their historic victory over Germany? Or will Ukraine continue making their own Euro history?