POLAND and Ukraine meet on Tuesday and in-form Will Dyer (@w2Dyer) previews the odds for us. What’s he backing?
Poland v Ukraine | Tuesday 17:00 | BBCi
Ukraine became the first team to be knocked out of Euro 2016 just six days into the competition after losing to Northern Ireland and watching Germany draw 0-0 with Poland last Thursday. I never expected them to pull up any trees in France but I certainly didn’t think they’d lose by two to Norn Iron.
Ukraine’s problem seems to be the lack of a stellar forward. Sure Yevhen Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko are talented midfielders but they are not complemented by a decent front man.
Yevhen Seleznyov has scored less than both of the aforementioned despite playing 52 games up front for Ukraine whilst Roman Zozulya has never even scored 10 goals in a domestic season despite spending his whole career in the Ukrainian Premier League. Outside of that it’s just Pylyp Budkivskyi who only has four caps to his name and that’s the attacking of the attacking corps.
Poland dealt quite comfortably with the world champions last week and if Arkadiusz Milik had had his shooting boots on they may well have won the game. Defensively they have looked much better than in qualifying and their recent friendlies.
I’ve been thoroughly impressed with Michal ‘Kung-Fu’ Pazdan; his no-nonsense style helps ease the pressure on the more talented players around him. He won man of the match against Germany and if Die Mannschaft can’t get past him then I can’t see how Ukraine will.
It’s about time Robert Lewandowski opened his tournament account. He showed good tenacity against Germany but unfortunately nothing clear-cut fell his way. The Bayern striker should get far more opportunities against this relatively old Ukraine back four.
Ukraine must be pretty down in the dumps right now and a win is still hugely valuable for Poland who can count on Northern Ireland putting in a shift against the Germans which may well see the White Eagles top the group on goal difference if they run riot here.
Somehow Poland are Even money to win this. Personally I see them absolutely dominating proceedings and putting as many past Ukraine as they can so my NAP is a Polish win by two or more goals at an enticing 29/10 with Netbet.
I’ll also put faith in Lewandowski again despite him failing to notch against the Germans. We’ve seen the main strikers start to fire in the last few days; Romelu Lukaku, Alvaro Morata etc. and at odds-against I feel Robert is a good bet against a team that’s conceded twice in both of their group games so far.