Avoiding defeat would be enough to see England through to the quarter-finals when they face Ukraine in their final Group D game on Tuesday night. But with a partisan home crowd backing the co-hosts, can Roy Hodgson’s team seal the deal with three points?
The fact of the matter is, England were far from convincing when putting Sweden away. The Three Lions were also distinctly second best when up against Channel neighbours France but despite some shoddy defending in both fixtures, Hodgson is boosted by the return of Wayne Rooney.
Even without Rooney, England’s team has enough attacking prowess to cause Ukraine’s backline enough problems to make this a decent spectacle for the neutrals.
Olg Blokhin’s side may have enjoyed a triumphant opening success against the Swedes but it wasn’t secured without a few defensive hiccups. In the closing moments they were undone with worrying ease, only for Johan Elmander to spurn the resultant chance. And France made enough chances in a rain-lashed Donetsk to make their 2-0 win over the co-hosts look comfortable.
Ukraine had just one shot on target against Les Blues and looked disjointed and jaded. Yes, England only managed a sole effort on goal too, but will come into this game buoyed by their Friday night win against Sweden.
Ukraine face the same challenge that Poland had against the Czech Republic and like them they could be emotionally and physically drained trying to deal with the pressure that being co-hosts brings. Unfortunately for them they don’t look good enough to meet the expectations of the home fans, and, a group-stage exit looks likely.
We can’t see them troubling Joe Hart too much and wouldn’t be expecting many goals, with under 2.5 goals at 10/11 and no goalscorer at 11/1 worth consideration. However, with Rooney back in fold, we’re expecting the Manchester Utd man to give Ukraine’s tired and immobile defence plenty of headaches. Enough to make England our best bet at 5/4 to beat Ukraine.