Mark O’Haire’s Euro Tips – Ukraine v Poland
Ukraine v Poland
Ukraine became the first team to be eliminated from Euro 2016 following back-to-back losses ‘to nil’ but will the Yellows sign off with a success against a highly-rated Poland side in Marseille?
Ukraine v Poland, Tuesday 21st June 2016, 17.00, BBC & TV3
It looks unlikely. Bar a brief spell in the first-half of their 2-0 defeat to Germany, Mykhaylo Fomenko’s men have performed poorly. In fact, the Zbirna were dreadful when losing 2-0 to Northern Ireland and now Ukraine can finish no higher than fourth in Group C.
There was plenty of faith from punters pre-tournament but supporters of the Zbirna remained pessimistic.
Those concerns were warranted as Ukraine have now failed to score in four successive major tournament losses on the spin
with Fomenko ripping into his players and accusing them of lacking unity and desire.
Key players Yevhen Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko have failed to fire and without their wing wizards, Ukraine have looked devoid of ideas and creativity in forward areas. So with nothing to play for and Fomenko on his way at the competition’s conclusion, it’s hard to see the Zbirna raising themselves for one last hurrah.
Poland Pressing On
Poland played out the first goalless draw of Euro 2016 with Germany in their last outing but the result meant the White Eagles took a huge stride towards qualifying for the Last-16. It could have been even better for Adam Nawalka’s charges as Arkadiusz Milik missed the game’s best chances.
Overall it was a disappointing encounter that failed to produce a single shot-on-target in the opening half. Nevertheless, Polish confidence is likely to have increased and the White Eagles have now suffered just two defeats in their last 22 fixtures.
Poland came into this tournament as one of several teams considered dark horses in a field devoid of any standout favourite. They were good value for their victory over Northern Ireland in their opener and the high fives at the final whistle against Germany suggested they were satisfied with a point.
Nawalka said, “I’m very happy with the team, in particular their discipline and tactical awareness. It all went exactly to plan.” The Germans were reduced to just three shots-on-target across the full 90 minutes.
A convincing win could see Poland top Group C and with seven wins from 11 matches, they should be fancied here at even-money.
Robert Lewandowski’s been quiet but the skipper’s longest goal drought this season was only four matches and you’d expect the Bayern Munich hitman to be amongst the goals sooner than later; he’s also available at evens and well worth a wager.
Defensively, Poland arrived at Euro 2016 with a poor backline record but Kamil Glik and Michal Pazdan have formed an effective pairing at centre-back and with destroyer Grzegorz Krychowiak providing plenty of protection, the White Eagles have kept two clean sheets.
The win ‘to nil’ can be backed at 21/10 but at evens, I’m not sure we can afford to ignore the Match Odds price as Poland go searching for the result that’ll see them finish top of the Group C tree.
Poland to win (Evens)
Robert Lewandowski to score anytime (Evens)
*Prices correct at time of publication