Euro Betting: Netherlands vs Ukraine 13 June
Group Stage | Group C | Amsterdam
This will be the first ever competitive game between the two sides, and as the two potentially leading lights of the group, both will be looking to claim that top spot ahead of the other. From qualifying to now, there has been considerable overhauls within the Dutch camp, none more so than Frank de Boer coming in during September 2020 to replace outgoing manager Ronald Koeman who resigned to take over at Barcelona.
Koeman successfully led Netherlands through qualifying, finishing second behind Group C winners, Germany. With 6 wins out of 8 – including a victory over Germany – the Dutch, as usual, look accomplished and equipped for the tournament.
Ukraine also had a strong qualifying campaign, going unbeaten and impressively beating current Euro-holders, Portugal to top spot in their group.
Squads & Line-ups
Although the absence of Virgil Van Dyke will be sorely felt, the Oranje squad is filled with a number of top-flight players who lead and shine for Europe’s best and most successful clubs. As ever, there is a talented Ajax and other Dutch club contingent, made up of Daley Blind, Davy Klaassen, and Steven Berghuis to name a few.
There is a lot to be expected of successful Ajax exports Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong, now both playing leading roles at Juventus and Barcelona. And of course, a number of well-travelled and talented stars like Giorginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay, who scored 6 and assisted 8 goals in qualifying – a direct role in 58% of all Netherlands’ qualifying goals.
For Andriy Shevchenko’s men – himself, Ukraine’s all-time leading scorer and arguably best player – they have a squad with genuine talent, albeit in patches. The standout players include West Ham’s powerful Andriy Yarmolenko, Man City speedster Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Gent playmaker Roman Bezus, who finished his club season in red-hot form.
Although lesser known, the rest of the squad is made up of a cohesive and more-than-able unit of players who star for the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kiev in the Ukrainian top-flight.
Unfortunately, with only a couple of friendlies preceding this tie, it’s not a fixture with much history behind it. However, their qualifying campaigns do point to this game being a good place to create some!
2010 was their most recent meeting, where both sides saw out a stale friendly draw. The other game was 3-0 victory for a Netherlands team playing at home, with Dirk Kuyt, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and Ryan Babel goals sealing victory for then manager, Marco Van Basten. Incidentally, Van Basten was up against Ukraine manager, Oleksiy Mykhailchenko, a Euro ‘88 Final opponent when Van Basten scored THAT famous volley against Soviet Union.
The Netherlands are returning to the Euros after missing out in 2016, whilst Ukraine have now qualified for a third time overall and in succession.
The Dutch, who, as well as winning the tournament in ’88, have also been semi-finalists in 1992, 2000 and 2004. But their last Euros appearance in 2012, ended badly. Losing all three group games to Portugal, Germany, and Denmark.
For the Ukrainians, prior to co-hosting in 2012, they had never participated in a Euros finals, but they do have a squad that are looking to make their mark.
This will also be Netherland’s tenth Euros appearance, whilst Ukraine have lost five of their six Euro matches, apart from defeating Sweden 2-1 in 2012.
So, will it be a ‘Perfect Ten’ for the Dutch, or ‘Seventh Heaven’ for Ukraine?