Football Bet of the Day: Ukraine to move step closer to Euro finals

 | March 20 | 

3 mins read

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Thursday's Football Bet of the Day comes from one of the six Euro 2024 qualification play-off semi-finals, which includes a Path B clash at the Bilino Polje Stadium in Zenica where hosts Bosnia-Herzegovina will be striving to spring a surprise against well-fancied Ukraine.

Ukraine have participated at the last three European Championship finals and were quarter-finalists at Euro 2020 where they bowed out with a 4-0 loss to England at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Bosnia are attempting to qualify for the European Championships for the first time in their history.

Their only previous appearance at a major tournament was at the 2014 World Cup, where they were eliminated at the group stage after one victory and two defeats.

Football Bet of the Day - Thursday, March 21

  • Ukraine to win @ EVS

Ukraine look by far the strongest of the Path B teams in the Euro 2024 qualifying play-offs and they can move a step closer to the finals by defeating Bosnia-Herzegovina in Zenica.

Missing out on automatic qualification was a blow to Ukraine, who competed well in a tough section alongside England, Italy, North Macedonia and Malta.

The Ukrainians’ only losses came on their trips to England (0-2) and Italy (1-2) and they finished on the same number of points (14) as the second-placed Azzurri, who progressed due to a superior head-to-head record.

However, having competed on fairly even terms with two of the continent’s best teams, Ukraine should notice a significant drop in class in the play-offs.

They are 24th on the latest FIFA rankings, making them the top-ranked team among the 12 play-off contenders.

Their Path B rivals - Bosnia-Herzegovina, Israel and Iceland - hold respective rankings of 71, 75 and 73.

Serhiy Rebrov’s side must guard against complacency, but they won all four matches against lower-ranked opponents North Macedonia and Malta in qualifying Group C and have nothing much to fear from Bosnia, who look like a team in decline.

There are still a few survivors from the Bosnia team which reached the 2014 World Cup, including 33-year-old playmaker Miralem Pjanic and 38-year-old striker Edin Dzeko, who moved to Fenerbahce last summer and tops the Turkish scoring charts this season with 18 goals in 29 appearances.

But Bosnia finished a distant fifth in qualifying Group J with seven defeats from 10 matches.

Two of their victories came against Liechtenstein and their setbacks included a 5-0 home loss to Portugal and a 4-1 away reverse against Luxembourg.

Bosnia need to discover a new generation of talent and have high hopes for 25-year-old Augsburg striker Ermedin Demirovic, who has scored 14 Bundesliga goals this season.

However, they have conceded 20 goals in 10 qualifiers and their defence looks ill-equipped to contain a potent Ukraine attack.

Chelsea winger Mykhailo Mudryk is the most expensive player in the Ukrainian ranks, but the bigger threat to Bosnia could come from Girona striker Artem Dovbyk, who seems to be progressing with each season.

Dovbyk has played a key role in Girona’s successful season with 14 goals in 27 La Liga matches and his finishing qualities could be key to ensuring Ukraine’s safe passage to the Path B final.

Ukraine to win at evens

Find more Football Bet of the Day at Betfred Insights.

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