This week marks the return to international football, and plenty of it, as we have fixtures spanning across five days in total.
Monday brings an interesting matchup from Group C between 3rd placed Ukraine and group leaders Spain. This game will be closely watched and surely unpredictable, as Ukraine is tied with Slovakia for the second qualifying spot in the group.
A win for Ukraine would propel them forward, but they would still depend on Slovakia’s result versus the heavy underdog Luxembourg.
Ukraine has proved be a remarkably stable team in recent years. They performed well in the World Cup Qualifiers, ending only second to England in the group stages, but they missed their chance as France took them out in the knockout round.
A similar story fate may await them here in the Euro 2016 qualifiers. They have maintained a strong position in Group C, but Slovakia has the upper hand on them due to a superior head to head record. A miraculous win versus Spain would be fantastic, to say the least, but they still need to count on Slovakia flopping in their match vs Luxembourg.
On the bright side, the Ukrainian national team is guaranteed at least a playoff spot even if they end up third placed in Group C.
The Spanish national team is seeking vengeance after their poor performance in the World Cup of 2014. The title of world champion was passed on to Germany, but the European title is still up for grabs and Del Bosque’s men will be looking to regain their glory.
So far, so good, Spain has already qualified with a 8-0-1 record, 24 points and 1st place in Group C of the Euro qualifiers. Their next match versus Ukraine holds no mathematical meaning to them, but it means the world to Ukraine.
How the Spanish national team will approach this match will be a deciding factor in the outcome of this fixture. The team is completely healthy and they’ll surely come out in full force come Monday night.
The one downside is Diego Costa’s uncharacteristic performance in domestic and national football, and Alvaro Morata may be the leading man at the front for their next match.
Spain is the better team on paper here. When you throw in some statistics in the mix, it makes them even bigger favorites coming into this match. Spain is on a seven game winning streak in the qualifiers, conceding in total zero goals in those matches. Impressive is an understatement here. The Ukrainians have won three out of their last five games, losing one and drawing the last one.
The head to head record speaks in favor of Spain as well; they have won three out of their last four meetings, although Spain barely managed to win the last time these two teams met back in March (1:0).
One thing is for sure; the Ukrainians will go and give it their all on the field on Monday. Spain’s goal difference record is impressive, but keeping a clean sheet versus the fierce Ukraine on away turf will be difficult. Looking from Ukraine’s perspective, they will surely look to play open and attacking football in order to secure the win, meaning Spain will have plenty of chances on the counter attack.
Our recommended bet for this match is both teams to score, at odds averaging at around 2.00 or 1/1.