Euro 2024 qualification continues for England on Saturday as they visit the Polish city of Wroclaw to take on Ukraine (5pm; TV: Live on CH4). Read on for our full game preview with betting tips.
For the Ukrainians, this will be a fourth qualifying game for the upcoming European Championships, and so far, so good for Serhiy Rebrov’s men, who’ve won two and lost one, leaving them sitting nicely in second position in Qualification Group C. This will be their second game against the English following a 2-0 defeat at Wembley in March, though they have picked up some good results since and may now fancy themselves to get an improved result with the Three Lions being on the road.
For Gareth Southgate’s England, this qualification campaign has gone as most would have expected. It has been relatively straightforward and after their first four games, the Three Lions sit comfortably at the top of the pile having collected maximum points, scoring 15 goals and conceding just one in reply. In their most recent qualifier, they notched seven during a thumping of North Macedonia at Wembley back in June.
Plenty to like about the Three Lions so far
At the World Cup in Qatar (and before that), there were real question marks over England’s ability to step on the gas and score goals when it matters most. While those questions may once again arise at tournament level, in qualifying the English have increased their offensive output.
Southgate’s men have played four games in qualifying so far and have scored a pleasing total of 15 goals. Sure, seven of those came in one game against weak opposition, but they have scored two or more in all four, which is a real positive. What has also been pleasing is the fact that Bukayo Saka has really stepped up, shouldering some goal-scoring responsibility, notching four times, which takes the pressure off Harry Kane somewhat.
Rebrov’s men lack a cutting edge
A quick look at their recent form would suggest that this Ukrainian team offers plenty offensively, but if we scratch beneath the surface, it’s easy to feel that they lack the offensive tools required seriously to trouble the Three Lions here.
Last time out, the Ukrainians managed just one goal against Malta, which doesn’t exactly paint their forwards in the most flattering light. Sure, they scored three in a friendly against the Germans, but they scored those goals from just three shots on target, having taken only four shots. That isn’t likely to happen again for some time. Moreover, when they visited Wembley in March, Rebrov’s men offered very little going forward, registering just three shots, creating only 0.14 expected goals, which suggests that they may struggle here too.
More of the same for England?
England have something of a promising record against the Ukrainians having won each of the last two renewals of this fixture. When the teams met at Wembley earlier this year, England won by two goals to nil courtesy of finishes from Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka, while they were also victorious when the teams last met away from British shores, as they won by four goals to nil at Euro 2021 in Rome. England are now unbeaten in five against Ukraine, three of which they have won.
Three Lions to roar loudly once again
If you are looking to throw down a few pounds ahead of this fixture, then ‘England -1 Handicap’ may just be the best option. Southgate’s men have already shown that they can beat the Ukrainians by a comfortable margin and the switch to Polish shores isn’t likely to prevent them from repeating the feat.
In truth, had England shown the tiniest bit more in terms of clinical finishing in the reverse fixture, they likely would’ve scored four of five, which they may well do here. Let’s face it, the likes of Saka, Kane, Rashford and Maddison all turn up ahead of this fixture in fine form, so we shouldn’t be surprised if the English run riot offensively, especially against a Ukrainian backline that has given away plenty.
Against North Macedonia, who England thumped 7-0, Rebrov’s team conceded twice, while they shipped three against the Germans too. This preview is betting on Southgate’s men to fill their boots and win by a comfortable margin.
Saka to score
If you are looking for something different, then look no further than Bukayo Saka to find the net at generous-looking odds of 11/4. The wide forward has already shown his ability to score in an England shirt during this campaign, notching four times, including against Ukraine in March.
The 22-year-old has been in solid form for Arsenal at the start of the new campaign too, scoring two in his last four, averaging 0.36 expected goals and 2.76 shots per 90 minutes. In recent times, Saka has certainly been one of Southgate’s go-to forwards, so he is likely to start this game and if he does, he is worth betting on to notch. So these are the brace of betting tips, at best odds, for this Ukraine vs England Euro 2024 match preview:
- England -1 goal on the handicap @ 5/4 with Bet365.
- Bukayo Saka to score at any time @ 16/5 with William Hill.
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.