Ukraine vs. France: Preview and match analysis
Odds: Ukraine +250, Draw +450, France +100
Total: Over 2.5 (+125) Under 2.5 (-182)
FIFA world ranking: No. 52
Recent results: 2-1 win vs. Sweden 11/6/2012, 2-0 loss vs. Turkey 5/6/2012, 3-2 loss vs. Austria 1/6/2012, 4-0 win vs. Estonia, 28/5/2012.
Andriy Shevchenko stole the spotlight for the co-hosts in the opener, scoring twice to lead Ukraine to a 2-1 victory over Sweden. However, there is some word that the veteran may not even be in the starting 11 for this one.
Shevchenko, now 35, has already said he wouldn’t be able to start three games in a week, so many figure he’ll come on as a substitute here as his side looks to clog up midfield against France. If that’s the case, Ruslan Rotan could be the extra man in midfield, leaving Andriy Voronin as the lone striker.
On the other hand, if he starts and helps Ukraine to a good result here, it’s possible he could get a day off for the club’s third group match.
FIFA world ranking: No. 14
Recent results: 1-1 draw vs. England 6/11/2012, 4-0 win vs Estonia 5/6/2012, 2-0 win vs. Serbia 31/5/2012, 3-2 win vs. Iceland 27/5/2012
France held a major possession advantage over England, but settled for a 1-1 draw. This time around, all the talk is about Les Bleus “freeing up” their offense.
France put 15 shots on target in the draw, but they’re starting to feel the pressure to do better with their chances. The other point of concern was the team’s start in its opening match. England went ahead 1-0 on a set piece in the first half and France manager Laurent Blanc has warned his team that another uninspired start could have the club in hot water.
Samir Nasri was a bright spot against England with a beautiful strike from the top of the box, while Karim Benzema could be a strong bet to hit the back of the net after a number of solid efforts in France’s opening game.
Yann M’Vila could be ready to rejoin the midfield after suffering an ankle injury last month.
Tactics and lineups
Ukraine’s formation likely depends on Shevchenko’s status. If he starts the club will likely go with two strikers in a 4-4-2. The veteran may need to talk himself into a starting spot here. If he’s out expect a 4-2-3-1.
Possible lineup: Pyatov in goal, Husyev, Khacheridi, Mykhalyk, Selin at the back. Tymoschchuck, Nazarenko, Konoplyanka and Yarmolenko in midfield with Voronin and Shevchenko striking.
France will go with a 4-4-3, with M’vila likely coming in to the starting 11.
Possible lineup: Lloris in goal with Debuchy, Rami, Mexes and Evra at the back. Cabaye, M'Vila, Malouda will be in the middle with Nasri, Benzema and Ribery attacking.