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Euro 2016: Ukraine Preview, Predictions & Betting Odds

Ukraine European Championship Record

Group stage: 2012
Did not qualify: 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008

Total: W1 D0 L2 2:4

Ukraine Euro 2016 Qualifying Record

W7 D2 L3 17:5

Ukraine Euro 2016 Group Fixtures

12th June @21:00Germany vs Ukraine (Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille)

16th June @18:00 – Ukraine vs Northern Ireland (Stade de Lyon, Lyon)

20th June @18:00 – Ukraine vs Poland (Stade Velodrome, Marseille)

Road to Euro 2016

Having narrowly missed out on a place at the 2014 World Cup finals, Ukraine began the new campaign with a home loss to Slovakia, but three successive wins over weaker sides in the group saw Zbirna return to the right track. Mikhail Fomenko’s side the gave star-studded Spain side a run for their money in Sevilla, but they were not properly rewarded for a very good performance as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat.

Ukraine continued with solid showings against weaker sides to remain in the hunt for the automatic qualifying berth, but yet another underserved loss to Spain meant they had to book a ticket to France via the play-offs. Zbirna duly delivered as they enjoyed a 3-1 aggregate win over Slovenia to secure their place at the tournament finals, but they probably could have finished higher than the third place in the group had they had a smile or two from Lady Luck.

Style of Play

Even if he is still criticised by large sections of the national team fans, Mikhail Fomenko has got to be congratulated for transforming Ukraine into a top European side. With the country not required to qualify for the Euro 2012, the experienced coach was the first to successfully lead Zbirna to a European Championship qualifying campaign, and even though many of his compatriots would not agree, we believe his side can go far at the Euro 2016 finals.

Fomenko’s opponents definitely have a point in saying that Ukraine’s style of play may be obsolete and lacks imagination, but we only need to take one look at team’s results over the last few years and see that it works. Zbirna has established themselves as one of strongest defensive sides in Europe, conceding mere five goals in 12 Euro 2016 qualifiers, if we also count the play-off games vs Slovenia.

The rock-solid defence is just the foundation and Ukraine can be very dangerous when in possession, whether they line up in 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, despite the fact that the team do not take too many risks going forward. But, with both Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka cutting inside from the wings to devastating effect and capable of creating chances out of thin air, Zbirna has the potential to strike fear into opposition defenders.

The return of Roman “Ukrainian Rooney” Zozulya will offer the team a new dimension when going forward, as Fomenko can now count on target man Yevhen Seleznyov, who returns to the squad, and Zozulya, a modern forward who can move between the lines and also create chances for his teammates.

The reality is Ukraine have failed to score a single goal in four matches against top two sides in the group, but one should not forget that they created a host of clear-cut chances in both matches vs star-studded Spain and were very unfortunate not to get anything from those games. It has to be noted that the team are over-reliant on star players Konoplyanka and Yarmolenko, while first choice keeper Andriy Pyatov appears to be past his prime. The lack of experience at major tournaments could also prove an issue, but it would appear that strengths far outweigh the weaknesses at the moment.

Strong Points

  • Rock-solid defence
  • Excellent wing partnership
  • Strong team spirit
  • Very experienced team
  • Hard-working unit

Weak Spots

  • Conservative approach
  • No plan B
  • Too reliant on Yarmolenko & Konoplyanka

Ukraine Euro 2016 Starting Line-Up

Euro 2016: Ukraine Preview, Predictions & Betting Odds

Prediction

Ukraine have been placed in a tough group alongside World Cup holders Germany, in-form Poland and surprise package Northern Ireland, but we believe they can qualify for the knockout stages on their second appearance at the European Championship finals. Much will depend on whether their star players Yarmolenko, Konoplyanka and Zozulya can go through the tournament injury-free, but if there ever was an opportunity for Zbirna to shine, it is now.

This side have played together ever since Mikhail Fomenko took over the reigns, they are extremely strong at the back and difficult to break, while able to carve out goalscoring opportunities without leaving themselves exposed in defence. Their key men have the quality to change the course of the game, while hard-working midfield area, where five equally capable footballers are vying for three starting places, can run four hours on end to break opposition attacks and also help out when Ukraine have the ball.

IST Tip: Ukraine to finish in Group C top 2
Odds: 2.00 (1/1) @888sport

Interesting Markets

*Germany/Ukraine Group C Straight Forecast is 3.10 (21/10) @Winner
*Ukraine to be eliminated in Last 16 is 2.35 (27/20) @888sport

Ukraine Euro 2016 Squad:

Goalkeepers: Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk), Denys Boyko (Besiktas), Mykyta Shevchenko (Shakhtar Donetsk);

Defenders: Yevhen Khacheridi (Dynamo Kiev), Bohdan Butko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Artem Fedetskyi (Dnipropetrovsk), Oleksandr Karavaev, Oleksandr Kucher, Yaroslav Rakytskiy, Vyacheslav Shevchuk (all Shakhtar Donetsk);

Midfielders: Serhiy Rybalka (Dynamo Kiev), Denys Garmash (Dynamo Kiev), Serhiy Sydorchuk (Dynamo Kiev), Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kiev), Yevhen Konoplyanka (Sevilla), Ruslan Rotan (Dnipropetrovsk), Taras Stepanenko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Viktor Kovalenko (Shakhtar Donetsk), Anatoliy Tumoschuk (Kairat), Oleksandr Zinchenko (UFA);

Forwards: Roman Zozulya (Dnipropetrovsk), Pylyp Budkivskyi (Shakhtar Donetsk), Yevhen Seleznyov (Shakhta Donetsk).

Last updated: 5th June 2016

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IST employs a team of writers with an extensive experience in the gaming industry, who are passionate about football and ready to go the extra mile to provide our readers with inside information on top football clubs, players and national teams. We always ensure to only use reputable sources and we hope you will enjoy the content on our site.

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