Ukraine Play First Match Since Onset of War
In their first official match since the Russian invasion, the Ukraine national team will head to Scotland for an important World Cup Qualifier. Scotland impressed in the Group Stage and the winner of this match will face Wales for a World Cup berth on Sunday. Scotland vs Ukraine odds list the hosts as +120 favorites but Ukraine figures to have a whole lot of neutral fans behind them.
Scotland vs Ukraine Game Info:
- Location: Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland
- Date & Time: Wednesday June 1st, 2:45 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2, TUDN
- Oct 2007: Scotland 3-1 Ukraine
- Oct 2006: Ukraine 2-0 Scotland
These teams haven’t met for nearly 15 years. In Euro 2008 qualifiers the home team won both fixtures. Unsurprisingly, the Scotland vs Ukraine odds favor a Scotland side playing at home in Wednesday’s match.
Scotland Unbeaten in Eight
- WCQ Record: 7-1-2 (23 pts, 2nd Group F)
- Injuries and Suspensions: D Nathan Patterson (Ankle)
Scotland finished the World Cup qualifying group stage on a high. They won their last six matches and handed Denmark their only loss of the round. Scotland are unbeaten in their last eight internationals and are just two wins away from qualifying for the Qatar World Cup 2022.
Should Scotland qualify, it’d be their first World Cup appearance since 1998. This crop of national team players is a talented one, led by Liverpool left back Andy Robertson. There are a host of other Premier League players in the side like Leeds defender Liam Cooper and an interesting midfield trio of Scott McTominay, Billy Gilmour and John McGinn.
Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney is still recovering from an injury he suffered while on international duty in March and is not in the squad. His absence will hurt the back line but the real concern with Scotland is up front. Che Adams has scored some important goals for both Southampton and Scotland but he’s not exactly a prolific striker. In last year’s Euros, Scotland managed just one goal in three matches.
More Than Just a Game for Ukraine
- Form (All Competitions): 2-0-6 (12 pts, 2nd Group D)
- Injuries and Suspensions: D Denys Popov (Hamstring)
This will be an incredibly emotional match for Ukraine players, coaches and supporters alike. While war ravages their country, many players have been unable to go back to see family. It was decided that the national team players were better served trying to qualify for the World Cup than taking up arms. The national team is also being used as an outlet to raise funds for the military in upcoming friendlies. A World Cup appearance could boost morale during an incredibly difficult period for the nation.
Ukraine went unbeaten in eight World Cup qualifying matches, with two draws vs defending World Cup champions Spain, however, they also drew twice vs minnows Kazakhstan. At their best, Ukraine are a dangerous side to play against and Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko is a huge part of that. He plays as a left back for City but he pulls the strings in midfield for the national team.
The Scotland vs Ukraine odds do favor underdogs Ukraine to cover the +½-goal spread at -150 odds. Even though they’re playing on the road Ukraine are very much capable of advancing to play Wales on Sunday.
What to Watch For
There’s still a lot to be determined in World Cup qualifiers in Europe. Two wins for either side will be enough to clinch a berth at November’s World Cup but the odds are stacked against them. Especially for Ukraine, who will have to win on the road in Scotland and Wales to clinch their first World Cup in 16 years.
The Blue and Yellow are +255 underdogs and the midfield battle could be where the game is won and lost. Zinchenko and Atalanta’s Ruslan Malinovskyi have the tough task of breaking down a Scotland team that conceded fewer than a goal per game in qualifying.
A draw is priced at +220 and remember, Ukraine drew six of their eight World Cup qualifiers. The O/U goal total is set at two and the over is implied to be more likely, at -130. Even though Scotland are favorites, there’s not much separating these two teams on paper. Home field is certainly an advantage for Scotland, but this is much more than just a soccer game for Ukraine.Follow us on Twitter