Can Ukraine bounce back after late Dutch defeat?
The aim is simple for Ukraine and North Macedonia in their matchday two Group C affair. With both sides tasting defeat in their first fixture a loss here would make it very difficult to reach the knockout stage. Ukraine are strong favourites and boast a very talented squad, they can bounce back in this matchup to completely change the outlook of their campaign, crucially they have plenty of tournament know-how in the side compared to their opposition. This is North Macedonia’s golden generation and with 37-year-old former Champions League winner Goran Pandev up front, there will be no lack of inspiration and motivation.
Last time out
Ukraine gave a good account of themselves in their 3-2 defeat to the Netherlands, the Dutch were comfortably the better side and began the competition looking very dangerous. However, Andriy Shevchenko’s men hung in there well with Georgi Bushchan demonstrating his impressive shot stopping abilities particularly in the first period. Though it must be said, the Dynamo Kyiv glovesman would have reason to be disappointed with all three second half goals he conceded. That said Ukraine’s never say die attitude almost saw them snatch a point, first Andriy Yarmolenko showed his class with a long range strike before Ruslan Malinovsky provided an inch perfect cross for Roman Yaremchuk to nod home, even though letting in an 85th minute will be a crushing blow there was plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about their qualification hopes in defeat.
North Macedonia were second best all over the pitch in their 3-1 loss to Austria, with Pandev’s equaliser coming from a freak mistake in the backline. In terms of chance creation they struggled and paid the price in what on paper was their best chance of earning a point in the group stage. They will be competitive and leave everything out there but Ukraine should have the guile to break them down.
North Macedonia are likely to play a low block and look to restrict Ukraine and despite their attacking talent that makes me uncomfortable with a goals angle. However if the deadlock is broken early this one could become very open. Igor Angelovski’s men actually created a greater expected goals value, 0.79, than Ukraine, 0.70, in their opening fixture although a large chunk of that number comes from Pandev’s goal which came from a fortunate deflection.
Ukraine are strong favourites for good reason, they should get the job done here and look on towards sealing qualification.
Ukraine - North Macedonia Betting Tip
Ukraine to Win + North Macedonia to Score Under 1.5 goals with Betway at odds of 9/10 or 1.90.
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