England vs. Ukraine Odds & Predictions
Last Time Out:
England defeated Germany 2-0; Ukraine drew 1-1 with Sweden and prevailed 2-1 in extra time.
The sides drew 0-0 on Sept. 10, 2013, at Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine.
About the Matchup:
Cinderella arrives in the quarterfinals after a surprising win over Sweden, which was Ukraine's best game of the tournament. The Blue and Yellow were thought to be a dark horse in this tournament, but those thoughts dissipated after Ukraine took two disappointing losses in the group stage and only escaped by beating North Macedonia. But they got a lifeline against Sweden when the Swedes picked up a red card, and they cashed in when it mattered most. Now they face England, which might never get a better chance to play for a championship. The Three Lions waited their moment before closing down Germany and are now the only side that hasn't once had to pick the ball out of the net in this tournament. With Denmark or the Czech Republic awaiting the winner, England has to feel good about its chances to reach the final, which it will play in front of its own fans if it gets there. The main question here is whether complacency gets in the way for Gareth Southgate's team, which has stubbed its toe in this round in two of its past three appearances at the Euros. If England is motivated, this should be straightforward.
Gareth Southgate has a defined way he wants to play, and his vindication came in the win over Germany, as England finally overcame its past demons to best the Germans and move past the round of 16. The way the English beat their opponents in this day and age is by grinding out games and waiting for the right moment to find one or two opportunities to punish the defense. It's not the most attractive way to play soccer, but even the most jaded English fan had to appreciate the win in the Round of 16. But the big question here is whether England has itself focused on this matchup with a team that simply isn't who they were expecting to play. England expected to play Spain in this round, but the Spanish ended up finishing second in their group and ended up on the other side of the bracket. Then the opponent was supposed to be Sweden, but the Swedes ended up reduced to 10 men. This should be a straightforward win for England, but every English fan remembers the 2016 Euros when the Three Lions found a way to lose to Iceland.
Which Ukraine side is going to show up? Will it be the one who looked like a potential contender against the Netherlands and successfully broke down Sweden or the one that seemed utterly toothless against Austria? The key to Ukraine's attack is both its strength and weakness: it's usually one of Andriy Yarmolenko or Roman Yaremchuk doing the scoring, as Ukraine tends to play a defensive formation in matches against better sides. That's often left Ukraine struggling to get much of anything going against good opponents. Out of 10 matches in 2021, Ukraine has scored one goal or fewer on seven occasions, with the lone exceptions coming against Cyprus, North Macedonia, and the Netherlands, with the last being when the Dutch went to sleep and allowed Ukraine to fire its way back into the match. Opportunities aren't likely to come often against England, so finding the right moment to attack will be critical if Ukraine plan on keeping this unlikely run alive. Dan's Score Prediction: Whether it's Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane, or someone else, England only needs one opportunity to seize this match and put it to bed, and I think they'll take full advantage of it when it comes. It's likely to be a long wait for that first goal, but I expect it to happen. I'm taking England to win 1-0 at +475.