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Ukraine Euro Cup Betting Prediction – The Ukraine Have A Huge Mountain To Climb

Posted by Todd Shale on 5/25/2012 2:46:22 PM

Sports betting players haven’t seen much of the Ukraine in qualification since they were automatically in as co-hosts of Euro 2012 with Poland, and that means it is tough to get a read on their chances. But the Ukraine are going to need a boost from their home fans if they’re going to get out of a tough group, much less win it.

Manager: Oleh Blokhin (since April 2011)
Best Euro Finish: First-time qualifiers
Soccer Betting Odds: +400 to win Group D, +4000 to win Euro 2012

Offense

The Ukraine didn’t have to qualify for the tournament as the co-hosts, but it is for sure that their offense will be led by captain Andriy Shevchenko, who was once one of the top strikers in Europe when he played for A.C. Milan, but then he went to Chelsea and it started to go downhill for the 35-year-old, who now plays for Dynamo Kyiv in the Ukrainian league. Shevchenko has scored the most goals in the history of the national team and is second in appearances, and he has shaken off back and thigh injuries to be as close to 100% as he can for his country. But he obviously can’t do it by himself anymore, and he’ll get help from Andriy Voronin and Artem Milevskiy.

However, the player to watch could be 22-year-old Andriy Yarmolenko, who has scored in three of the past five friendlies for the Ukraine and his youth is the perfect foil for Shevchenko’s experience, which means Voronin will probably come off the bench. Younger players tend to take it to the next level in these types of tournaments so they can get looked at by the bigger clubs in Europe, and Shevchenko has reportedly been trying to connect him with his former club, A.C. Milan. If the Ukraine has a breakout player, it is Yarmolenko.

Defense

There isn’t a lot of offense in the Ukrainian side at this level, so their defense is going to be even more important and it actually starts in defense, and the key to the entire team could be Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, who has been voted by fans to be the best player in the history of the country and leads the way in appearances for the national side with 114. He shields the defense effectively and at 33 years old, can still do a job as he showed in 37 games with Bayern Munich; Tymoshchuk is the only player in this team that plys his trade outside of the Ukraine or Russia. He can also add a goal or two, but his role will be to protect a defense that doesn’t have much experience at all as Oleksander Kucher’s 28 caps is the most among any of the defenders named to the national team.

Not only does the Ukraine has an inexperienced defense, but their first-choice goalkeeper is out of the tournament after Oleksander Rybka was found guilty of a doping offense. That leaves Andriy Pyatov, who has played for his country 24 times, but he’ll be under a ton of pressure. Behind him, Oleksander Bandura and Maksym Koval have a combined zero national-team appearances and if Pyatov gets hurt, it could get ugly for Ukraine, so that is why Tymoshchuk is so important to the side.

Intangibles

Manager Oleh Blohkin is in his second go-round as leader of the national team as the first was from 2003 to 2007, which featured a trip to the quarterfinals of the 2006 World Cup where they lost to eventual champion Italy. He is also remembered as one of the greatest players in the history of the country as he was named European Footballer of the Year in 1975 and was a phenomenal striker, so his name carries weight and he was obviously the first choice to manage the team when the Ukraine won the right to co-host Euro 2012.

He’ll have his hands full with a side that doesn’t have much experience and his best players are getting up there in age, so Blohkin will have juggle that, but above all, he has to get the defense to maintain discipline or else the Ukraine will be in big trouble.

How It Will Play Out

The Ukraine’s soccer betting odds are listed at +400 in Group D with England, France and Sweden, and they’re listed at +4000 to win the tournament, and the latter wager may be too much to ask. They’ll also need a few breaks to not only win Group D, but just to get to the next stage.

The crowd is going to be massive for the Ukraine and while you can never count out the ability of the fans to help their team to victory, they simply may not have the talent to beat the likes of England, France and Sweden. They’ll have to count on the teams beating up on each other and then sneaking in a victory, but if the Ukraine get to the quarterfinals of the tournament, it’ll be a major online Euro Cup betting upset.


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