UKRAINE take on debutants North Macedonia in Group C from Euro 2020 on Thursday. James Potter (@thebettingdesk) oversees the encounter.
Ukraine vs North Macedonia | Thursday 17th June 2020, 14:00 | ITV
Group C is still open for one of these sides to claim a place in the knockout stages. As Ukraine and North Macedonia go head-to-head at the National Arena on Thursday looking for the three points which would potentially move them into the last 16. Both teams have looked capable of scoring so this should be an open game.
Ukraine pulled off an excellent comeback to draw level with the Netherlands after being two goals down but a late strike from Denzel Dumfries condemned them to a disappointing 3-2 defeat. They managed five shots on target despite having only 39% of possession. I don’t think they will take such a defensive approach here and will look to take control of the game and create chances.
Shevchenko’s side has impressive players in its ranks and will know that they have to bounce back in this game if they want to progress.
In the last 19 meaningful games they have found the net in 17 scoring 29 goals – They only failed to score against Spain and Portugal, both of who are much better in terms of quality than North Macedonia.
Over the last 12 months they have scored an average of 1.11 goals per match with 1.27 xG but do allow chances at the back with 1.78 conceded with 1.84 xGA, so we should see chances at both ends.
During this time Ukraine have scored in France, home and away to Germany and at home to Spain. Although the qualifiers were mainly in 2019 I was surprised to see that Ukraine conceded more shots on target than North Macedonia, so again this points to goals.
Ukraine games have tended to see goals with seven of the last eight seeing both teams finding the net and 12 of their last 19 games having at least three goals with an average of 2.63 match goals per game.
North Macedonia I think we’re better than most people expected in their opening game and held their own against Austria in the first half but a late flourish from their opponents handed them a defeat.
As the game progressed the Austrians had a little more quality and the Balkan outfit looked tired and become far too open and paid the price with xG 1.99 vs 0.62 losing the game 3-1. However, they did continue they goal scoring trend, finding the net meaning they have now scored in 17 of their last 20 games and I wouldn’t be surprised if they found the net again.
Over their last 12 games going back to the start of 2020 in meaningful games they have seen 38 goals which is an average 3.16 goals
As you can tell I am very keen on goals. Both sides need a win here and with The Risovi facing the Netherlands in Amsterdam in their final game they will see this game as their last real chance to progress and with a negative two goal difference they will know they need to win well here. Ukraine know what they need to do, win here and at least a draw with Austria in their final game should be enough to see them progress.
I mentioned that Ukraine have scored in 17 of their last 19 games and I am going to back them again to score here and find the net at least twice. The best odds available for them to score 1.5+ is 10/11 with Betfred. Austria scored three times with a xG of 1.99 and for me, Ukraine has more attacking quality.
I am also keen taking the overs. Both sides will look to attack, and both have excellent goal scoring records, so it makes sense to take over 2.5 at 10/9 with Matchbook.
I can easily see Ukraine running away with this match, they had a few decent openings against the Netherlands early on but took the wrong option or poor passes meant they didn’t get a shot away. Austria hadn’t scored for over 300+ minutes before they played North Macedonia but still scored three times.
The referee for this one is an excellent pick. Step forward Argentinian Fernando Rapallini. This man loves cards. Last season across all competitions he averaged 6.5 cards per game with a red card every 0.75 games. This will do us nicely. The game will be very stop start as he averages 32.75 fouls per game.
I am going to take both teams to collect at least one card each, Ukraine to score and then over 25.5 free kicks at 1/1 with Bet365. North Macedonia have seen 26 or more fouls in 19 of their last 20 meaningful games. They also know that defeat here is pretty much the end of the journey for them at Euro 2021. Their last 20 games have averaged 29.55 fouls with Ukraine averaging 23 total fouls from their last 20 meaningful games.
Ukraine have picked up at least one card in 17 of their last 20 games with an average of 1.47 per game. North Macedonia have collected at least one card in 19 of their last 20 with an average of 2.75.
The last bet I like is a combination of cards and goals. I have already discussed that both these teams are generally involved in games that are goal heavy with over 1.5 goals landing in 16 of their last 20 games for both sides. I am going to couple this with North Macedonia to collect over 1 card.
The Risovi have averaged 2.75 cards over their last 20 meaningful games, picking up two or more on 16 of those 20 games. The referee is going to card heavy and defeat here for them and they know their chances of progressing are almost over. They picked up two against Austria committing 13 fouls. I can see more the same.
Ukraine vs North Macedonia – Ukraine to score Over 1.5 Goals (10/11 Betfred)
Ukraine vs North Macedonia – Over 2.5 Goals (10/9 Matchbook)
Ukraine vs North Macedonia – Ukraine to score Over 0 Goals, Both Teams Over 0 Cards and Over 25.5 Free Kicks (1/1 Bet365)
Ukraine vs North Macedonia – Over 1 Goal and North Macedonia Over 1 Card (1/1 Bet365)
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