UEFA Euro 2020 – Ukraine Team Preview

Yellow and Blues unlikely to excite?

Ukraine / Kharkiv ©IMAGO / Ukrinform 06/07/2021

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Ukraine are set to make their third appearance at the finals of a European Championship. The first of those came in 2012 as co-hosts, before overcoming Slovenia in a two-legged play-off to reach the tournament proper in 2016. Neither participation could be considered memorable, though. The Yellow and Blues exiting at the group stage on both occasions, losing five of their six matches thus far.

Andriy Shevchenko, the country’s all-time leading goalscorer, scored twice in their sole victory at the finals – a 2-0 defeat of Sweden at the 2016 edition. Now 44, the former AC Milan and Chelsea striker is back inspiring his nation from the relative comfort of the coach’s dugout. Steering them towards unbeaten qualification, topping a group which boasted Serbia along with reigning European champions Portugal.

A rock-solid backline proved key during qualifying. Ukraine recorded five clean sheets – four of these in victories, including one apiece versus Serbia and Portugal – and conceded only four times. Belgium and Turkey were the only other teams to book their place with a better defensive record. However, three wins and two clean sheets from thirteen matches since wrapping up qualification is cause for concern.

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Euro 2020 Fixtures – Group C

13 June vs Netherlands in Amsterdam Netherlands

17 June vs North Macedonia in Bucharest Romania

21 June vs Austria in Bucharest Romania

All things considered, Shevchenko will be thrilled to be in Group C. The Netherlands are clearly the most established side here but are not at the level they once were and are also missing key figures. It should be a case of three into two then, with Austria and Ukraine vying with the Dutch for the two automatic qualifying berths. Meanwhile, Ukraine won to nil the last two times they encountered North Macedonia.

First up is the Dutch though, who will be buoyed by playing in front of a partisan home crowd inside Amsterdam Arena. A positive outcome there – and they are 6/5 with Betfair to win or draw – would set them up nicely for a fixture with the tournament’s lowest ranked nation, North Macedonia, before taking on the Austrians.


Group C Straight Forecast:
Netherlands 1st, Ukraine 2nd



Key Players – Zinchenko to assume greater responsibility?

Despite a respectable record of five clean sheets in eight qualifiers, there is no longer a place in the starting XI for veteran goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov. Dynamo Kiev’s Georgiy Bushchan appears to be the man entrusted with keeping out the goals, helping Ukraine record their first clean sheet of 2021 at the fifth time of trying in a recent friendly win against Northern Ireland.

An able deputy at full-back for Pep Guardiola at Man City, Alexsandar Zinchenko could line up in central midfield for Ukraine. Roman Yaremchuk top scored in qualifying with four efforts and comes off a decent domestic campaign in Belgium where he scored 17 times. Ruslan Malinovskiy is the star, though, combining 8 goals with 12 assists for an Atalanta side that finished third in Serie A in 2020-21.

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Ukraine Best Bets – Oppose Goals?

Since booking their place at this summer’s tournament in undefeated fashion, doing so by topping a group that included Serbia and Euro 2016 winners Portugal, momentum has been allowed to seep away. Ukraine have won only twice thereafter (D4 L5). Moreover, what was a formidable rearguard during qualification conceded in six straight matches prior to a recent friendly win over Northern Ireland.

There is character to this side though. Bruising defeats to Spain and France in 2020 could easily have knocked their confidence. Instead they inflicted a 1-0 defeat on the former when the sides reconvened in Kiev later that year. Meanwhile, they are still to lose in 2021 (W1 D4), turning in a gutsy performance to earn a 1-1 draw with France in Paris in March. None of their encounters this year produced more than two goals.


EURO 2020 Key Facts – Ukraine

  • Andriy Shevchenko became the first manager of the Ukraine senior side to qualify for a European Championship by winning their group – pipping EURO 2016 winners Portugal to first place in an unbeaten campaign (W6 D2).
  • Ukraine won their very first game at a European Championship, beating Sweden 2-1 in 2012. However, they have since lost all five tournament matches, with only one team ever losing six in a row at the finals.
  • All five Ukraine matches in 2021 contained no more than two goals in the match. Four ended in a 1-1 draw, including against two teams at these finals: France and Finland.


Should Andriy Shevchenko’s men maintain their unbeaten status through the group stage, a spot in the next round will almost certainly be theirs. Ukraine are a best-priced 4/11 in the To Qualify In Group C betting. Alternatively, Betway go 7/2 on all three Ukraine group games at EURO 2020 producing Under 2.5 Goals.