Tuesday evening sees the ‘round of 16’ draw to a close with arguably the least anticipated – but possibly most intriguing – tie as Sweden and Ukraine face off at Hampden Park.
Sweden shocked everyone by topping Group E ahead of Spain, with Viktor Claesson’s 94th minute goal propelling them to victory over Poland five days ago.
Bet on Sweden v Ukraine : use code CTALK100 for up to £100 bet credits
Their most impressive result though was a 0-0 draw with La Roja themselves on Matchday one, in which Victor Lindelof led a spirited defensive display to keep the Spaniards out.
The Blågult will certainly fancy their chances of a quarter-final berth now too, having been given what is (on paper) the easiest of the last 16 ties.
Opponents Ukraine qualified for the knockouts as the 4th-ranked, and therefore final, 3rd place qualifier on goal difference. Their -1 differential enough to tip the scales in their favour over Finland (-2) and Slovakia (-5).
A 2-1 victory over the competition’s lowest ranked side North Macedonia may have been enough for qualification from the group stages, but it certainly wasn’t enough to paper over the cracks of Andriy Shevchenko’s leaky boat.
The Blue and Yellow are woefully weak at full-back, with left-sided Vitaliy Mykolenko and right-sided Oleksandr Karavayev looking somewhat overmatched in their appearances so far – a flaw that was exploited by each of their group stage opponents, and led to them conceding a tournament-high 16 shots on target.
Sweden v Ukraine: The Man in the Middle
Taking control of this tie is Italian referee Daniele Orsato, who hasn’t followed the trend of the tournament so far in terms of cards.
The Serie A whistleblower gave four cards in his Euros opener between England and Croatia, before dishing out six and awarding a penalty when he took charge of Spain v Poland six days later.
Sweden v Ukraine: The Bets
I’m taking Sweden Most Fouls at 7/10 with Unibet as one of my main plays in this one.
Jan Andersson’s side have been prolific for fouls at the tournament so far, averaging more per game (13.3) than any of the other remaining sides – whilst Shevchenko’s Ukrainians have been rather muted, committing a tournament low 9.0 fouls per game.
This isn’t just a trend at the European Championships either. In the recent World Cup Qualifiers in March Sweden averaged 15.5 fouls per game, which saw them ranked 5th of 55 sides. Ukraine ranked dead last, with 6.7.
I’ve made no secret of my opinion on Ukraine’s defence, and it’s why I’ll be taking Sweden to Qualify, Over 0 Cards For Sweden and Ukraine Over 11.5 Free-Kicks at 6/4 as a bet65 BetBuilder.
Sweden to Qualify is hovering around 4/6 so I’ve added the free-kicks and the card to boost the price a little above evens and the stats are promising for it.
Sweden’s opponents have been awarded an average of 18.3 free-kicks per game at the Euros, whilst the Ukrainians have received an average of 14.0 across their three games.
Given their propensity for a foul, it will come as no surprise that Sweden have received at least one card in each of their last 16 competitive fixtures.
Four times in his last eight starts, that card has gone to Krasnodar midfielder Kristoffer Olsson, who’s 9/2 to be booked with bet365. He picked up six bookings in 18 starts in the Russian Premier Liga last season, as well as two in five Champions League starts.