CARD KING Gavin Murphy (@GamePlanGavin) highlights the bookings value for Northern Ireland’s Group C clash with Ukraine on Thursday.
Ukraine v Northern Ireland | Thursday 17.00 | ITV1
Ukraine can feel confident as they take on Euro 2016 Group C opponents Northern Ireland for a fifth time.
Ukraine’s record in four games against Northern Ireland is W2-D2-L0. Both previous European Championship matches between the countries – in qualification for the 2004 tournament – ended goalless.
In the teams’ only other meetings, Ukraine did the double over Northern Ireland in 1998 World Cup qualifying. The winning goals came from Serhiy Rebrov in Belfast (1-0) and Andriy Shevchenko in Kyiv (2-1).
In the qualification phase Ukraine averaged 2.90 cards-per-game and Northern Ireland 1.70 cards-per-game – that implies that 4.60 cards might be expected in this game.
Czech official Pavel Kralovec makes his first appearance in the finals here. He averaged 4.00 cards-per-game in Europe this term.
I mentioned in previous columns that in Euro 2012 6/8 matches at this corresponding stage of the tournament featured 4-6 cards.
Both of these teams will have targeted this fixture as winnable. So I’ll be backing Over 3.5 Cards at 4/5 with Bet365.
Ukraine v Northern Ireland – Over 3.5 Cards (4/5 Bet365)
World Cup 2018: The Ultimate Betting Guide
Our 130-page spectacular, World Cup 2018: The Ultimate Betting Guide, is available to buy NOW!
The interactive magazine includes previews, videos, stats and tips for all 32 teams, features on Outright Winners, Top Goalscorer, Refs & Cards, Dark Horses, Flops, Knock-out Betting and much more.
22 football experts contribute to our Ask the Experts feature and there’s over 5 hours of exclusive audio with 5 of the planet’s most respected reporters who discuss the chances of each nation with our very own Mark O’Haire.
And if that wasn’t enough there’s a free bet up for grabs with our partners Ladbrokes.