England vs. Ukraine: Preview and match analysis
Odds: England +119, Ukraine +274, Draw +237
Total: Over 2.5 goals +105, Under 2.5 goals -115
FIFA world ranking: No. 6
Recent results: 3-2 win vs. Sweden (Match Day 2), 1-1 draw vs. France (Match Day 1), 1-0 win vs. Belgium (06//02/12), 1-0 win vs. Norway (05/26/12), 2-3 loss vs. Netherlands ((02/29/12).
The Three Lions are coming off an emotional, come from behind victory against Sweden and return their best player to the lineup.
Wayne Rooney is back in the starting 11 after serving a two-match suspension. Rooney is without question England’s best player and his addition can’t be understated. He is a fantastic finisher but can also hold the ball under pressure and set up teammates.
Roy Hodgson’s team seemed to dominate the game against Sweden but two clunky challenges led to two Sweden goals off set pieces. Theo Walcott, who scored the tying goal and set up the winner against Sweden, says he is completely recovered from a hamstring tweak.
A draw will get England through but would likely pit them against Spain – the defending Euro and World Cup champion - in the quarterfinals.
FIFA world ranking: No. 52
Recent results: 0-2 loss vs. France (Match Day 2), 2-1 win vs. Sweden (Match Day 1), 0-2 loss vs. Turkey (06/05/12), 2-3 loss vs. Austria (06/01/12), 4-0 win vs. Estonia (05/28/12).
Ukraine manager Oleh Blokhin says there’s a 50-50 chance striker Andriy Shevchenko will be in the lineup against England. Shevchenko - Ukraine’s only goal scorer in the tournament – is dealing with a knee injury that was aggravated against France.
The 35-year-old and former Chelsea forward is the heart and soul of the Yellow-Blues. Ukraine trails England and France on points, so it must win Tuesday’s match in order to advance to the quarterfinals.
Tactics and lineups:
England used a 4-4-2 against Sweden with both Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck in the starting 11. Expect it to look more link a 4-4-2/4-2-3-1 with Rooney starting in place of Carroll. Rooney likes to drop back to receive the ball but is quick enough to move up and join his striker partner on attacking plays.
Projected England lineup: Hart, Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole, Gerrard, Parker, Milner, Rooney, Young, Welbeck.
Will he or won’t he? That’s the question Ukraine is asking about Shevchenko right now. I’d bet on him starting. This is the last hurrah of the player’s career and he’d trade the last year or two of his club career for a chance for national glory.
Projected Ukraine lineup: Pyatov, Husyev, Mikhalik, Khacheridi, Selin, Tymoshchuk, Yarmolenko, Nazarenko, Konoplyanka, Voronin, Shevchenko.