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)