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Euro 2024: Slovakia vs Ukraine tips and predictions - Favourites win to set up epic showdown

Ukraine will look to bounce back with a win against Belgium’s conquerors Slovakia in Dusseldorf on Friday afternoon (1400 BST).

The first week of Euro 2024 will be in the books by the time Slovakia face Ukraine in Dusseldorf on Friday afternoon, in a game of crucial importance for the Ukrainians.

Another defeat would surely end their chances of qualifying from Group E given their terrible goal difference, while a victory sets up a final matchday showdown with Belgium.

However, a win could mean that all three sides find themselves on three points after two matches, setting up a mouthwatering showdown next Wednesday.

Right off the bat, we suggest you do the obvious thing and find a way to back Ukraine to get a result from this must-win match. Sure, they lost 3-0, but they kept possession efficiently.

Two of Romania’s three goals were sublime finishes and on another day, the game would have been 1-0 by the time Ukraine started to create chances.

 

 

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All that was missing was a slice of luck at one end and a cutting pass at the other. Given how Slovakia played against Belgium, we expect Ukraine to dominate the ball again.

The frustrating nature of their defeat, coupled with Slovakia’s stunning win over Belgium, tells us from experience there will be a regression toward the mean for both sides.

We see no reason for Slovakia to alter their approach and it’s hard to imagine Ukraine not making a marked improvement in their intensity with the ball.

If Serhiy Rebrov’s can do a better job of preventing the counter-attack, and we suspect they will, then this game also looks like a candidate for under 2.5 goals.

 

Team news

Juraj Kucka is the only concern for Slovakia who may be forced to replace the experienced 37-year-old in midfield.

Ivan Schranz was the standout performer against Belgium and will form a three-man attack alongside Lukas Haraslin and Robert Bozenik.

Ukraine’s inability to find the gaps in the final third could see a reshuffle with Oleksandr Zinchenko moving into the midfield.

Girona’s Artem Dovbyk, who scored 24 goals and provided eight assists in La Liga, will likely continue in attack.

Viktor Tyshankov and Mykhailo Mudryk retain their places out wide.

 

Key stats

- Slovakia’s win over Belgium was their first win against a nation ranked above, away from Slovakian soil, since beating Russia in 2016

- Slovakia have never won back-to-back matches at a major tournament

- Ukraine are unbeaten following their last nine defeats dating back to 2020

- Ukraine have won three, drawn three and lost two meetings with Slovakia

 

Suggested bets

Ukraine to win

Under 2.5 goals

 

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