Ukraine @ 176.00 with SBK/Betfair Exchange (min 126.00) - 0.75 units
- Ukraine have been drawn in what I would call an easy group; the seeds are the Netherlands, who seem to have declined under De Boer; they've also been drawn with a very leaky Austrian side who tend to underperform on the big stage. North Macedonia, who scraped through qualification, will also be there.
- Ukraine did put in some poor performances leading up to this competition, but for the most part, their squad was ravaged by COVID. The preliminary squad as of today has a lot of depth.
- They have a nice mix of youth and experience; for those that remember, Ukraine won the 2019 u-20 world cup and have a lot of talent coming up the ranks.
- Under Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine have lost six competitive games since September 2016. Let's examine those
- 1-0 and 2-0 losses to Croatia in World Cup 2018 qualifying. Both games were close in terms of xG (1.99-2.63 in Croatia's favour)
- 4-1 loss to Slovakia in the UEFA Nations League, this was a meaningless loss as Ukraine had already won their group, they fielded a B team
- 4-0 loss to Spain in Euro qualification, This was one of the worst games I've seen from Ukraine under Shevchenko; they were utterly outclassed and deserved to lose
- 1-2 loss to Germany in the UNL, This was a game where Ukraine had most of their first-team players out with COVID; they still caused Germany problems
- 3-1 loss to Germany, They were in better shape for this game in terms of their squad and looked set to upset the Germans after taking the lead; unfortunately for them, they were undone by the individual brilliance of the German team.
- 3-0 loss to Switzerland; this was a walkover due to Ukraine's squad being quarantined
- During these past five years with Shevchenko, Ukraine has locked horns with some of the best teams in the World and held their own. Some standout performances include a 1-1 with France, 1-0 win over Spain, 2-1 win over Switzerland, 2-1 win over Portugal, 5-0 win over Serbia, and a 2-0 win over Turkey.
- Having depth is essential in International competitions; Ukraine are lacking in just one position for me and that's CF, it looks like Roman Yeremchuk of Gent will be tasked with spearheading the attack
- Yeremchuk has enjoyed a great season, with Gent registering 22 goals and assisting 8 times.
- For his country, he's averaging 0.36 goals per 90 with 0.36xG per 90; most of the opponents he's faced, however, have been elite teams (Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland) - Sidenote my data only goes back to games from 2020 onwards.
- The Ukrainian Premier League wrapped up on the 9th of May, which could mean less "burnout" for their players. 24 players from their preliminary squad play domestically. Zinchenko (1,388 mins) and Malinovskiy (1,786 mins) are not playing every game for their clubs either.
Final word: Ukraine almost certainly won't win Euro 2021, but I think they're being undervalued here, players from the big clubs are coming off a tough congested year, and I won't be surprised to see the bigger nations falter early on. Providing Ukraine makes it to the last 16, which I think they will, they'll be in the conversation