Saturday, July 24, 2021

Prediction: Ukraine vs England

Verdict: England win & under four goals

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: Unibet

With a spot in the semi-finals of this summer’s European Championships up for grabs on Saturday night, a high-flying England and Ukraine will face off at the Stadio Olimpico.

Ukraine

Starting with Ukraine, while Andriy Shevchenko’s side might have found themselves tipped as a real outsider when they faced off against Sweden earlier in the week, The Yellows put in an eye-catching display at Hampden. Booking their first quarter-final spot since 2006 with what was a stunning last-gasp winner in extra-time, the former AC Milan icon should find the mood in his camp at a real high. With many believing that they simply have a free hit when they travel to the Stadio Olimpico this weekend, Ukraine have really bounced back after what was an uninspiring run during their Group C campaign. Mustering just three points and eventually sneaking through as one of the best third-place nations, Shevchenko will undoubtedly be calling on West Ham ace Andriy Yarmolenko to spearhead their charge in Rome. Already finding the net against both North Macedonia and Holland so far this summer, the one-time Borussia Dortmund winger has either scored or assisted five of Ukraine’s eight goals at the European Championship.

Team News

Winger Oleksandr Zubkov is set to miss out but Andriy Yarmolenko is fit despite coming off against Sweden with a knock.

England

As for England, while The Three Lions might not have managed to find top gear during their three Group D contests, Gareth Southgate’s side laid down what was a famous marker on home soil earlier in the week. Picking up their first knockout victory against arch-rivals Germany since 1966, they were fully deserving of their 2-0 victory at Wembley and there is no doubt that the mood in their camp will be at a red-hot high. Watching the likes of France, Germany, Portugal and Holland all depart this summer’s delayed European Championships, The Whites suddenly find themselves tipped as a standout pick to finally taste international success. Keeping another clean sheet on Tuesday evening, Southgate will rightfully be excited by his side’s continued displays at the back. In fact, along with now keeping a clean sheet in each of their last six matchups across all formats, The Three Lions are only the second side in European Championship history not to concede in any of their first four games of an edition of the tournament, after Germany in 2016.

Team News

Despite an impressive display once again on Tuesday, Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka is a doubt with what Southgate says is a “slight knock”.

Budding talisman Jack Grealish could be in line to start just his second matchup of the summer in England’s attack.

Key Factors to Consider

    • England are only the second side in European Championship history not to concede in any of their first four games of an edition of the tournament, after Germany in 2016.
    • In fact, The Whites have not conceded a single goal in any of their last six matchups across all formats.
    • Raheem Sterling has scored three of England’s four goals at Euro 2020 so far, while only two players have ever scored more for England in a single edition at the tournament – Alan Shearer in 1996 (5) and Wayne Rooney in 2004 (4).
    • Ukraine’s only previous quarter-final appearance in a major tournament ended in a 3-0 defeat by Italy at the 2006 World Cup. Ukraine have won two of their last three European Championship matches, more than they had in their first seven in the competition (W1 L6).
    • Ukraine’s West Ham winger Andriy Yarmolenko has either scored or assisted five of Ukraine’s eight goals at the European Championship.

    Conclusion

    While Ukraine might have managed to land that last-gasp winner against Sweden earlier in the week, The Yellows face a real test in Rome on Saturday night. Managing to sneak their way to the knockout stage as one of the best third-place finishers, England know that they have a golden chance to secure a spot in the semi-finals. Still likely to be boosted by that stunning 2-0 victory against former world champions Germany in midweek, The Three Lions find the mood in their camp at a red-hot high. Gaining a real reputation for their continued success at the back and still the only side who are yet to pick the ball out of their own net, we’re backing Gareth Southgate’s side to extend on their European adventure at the Stadio Olimpico.

    Verdict: England win & under four goals

    Best Odds: 10/11

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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