Slovakia and Ukraine are still in the mix in Euro 2016 qualifying as either team could finish the group anywhere between first and third place. They’re both aiming for a top-two finish and an automatic berth at next year’s European Championships in France while the third place team will need to enter a two-legged playoff round. The two teams will battle it out on Tuesday, September 8 at the Štadión MŠK Žilina in Slovakia. Ukraine took all three points on Saturday when they beat Belarus 3-1 at home while Slovakia dropped three crucial points in a 2-0 loss in Spain. It was Slovakia’s first loss in the campaign and they gave up first place in the group to the Spanish. However, a win against Ukraine will guarantee them a top-two finish and a spot at Euro 2016.
Soccer Betting Preview – Slovakia vs Ukraine Euro 2016 Qualifier
- Pinnacle Sport lists Slovakia at +145 with Ukraine +226 a draw at +222
HEAD TO HEAD:
- These two teams met last year in the opening round of the group stage Slovakia stunning Ukraine 1-0 on the road. Róbert Mak scored the only goal of the game in Kyiv to give Slovakia a quick start to the qualifying campaign. It was also the first competitive match between the two nations. They sides had met previously in three friendly contests with Ukraine winning once and the other two games ending in draws. The previous outing in Slovakia ended in a draw.
Ukraine’s Denys Garmash will miss the game with a suspension after picking up a red card on Saturday against Belarus. There are several Ukraine players who will be banned for a game if they pick up a yellow card in this contest. These are Ruslan Rotan, Yevgen Khacheridi, Sergiy Sydorchuk and Olexandr Kucher. For Slovakia, Norbert Gyomber is in the same position. On the bright side, both Martin Škrtel and Juraj Kucka will be back in the Slovakian squad after sitting out suspensions.
Slovakia enters the encounter on a three-game winning streak in qualifying matches at home. Their previous best was a four-game run between October of 2007 and June of 2009. Ukraine managed to earn victories in their first two away games in Group C qualifying before losing to Spain 1-0 in their last away fixture. Even though these two teams are fighting it out with Spain for the top three spots in the group, one of the three nations will have to settle for third place and hope they can qualify for Euro 2016 directly as the best third-place team in all of the nine groups or enter the playoffs.
Spain sits on top of the group with 18 points and Slovakia is level with them. However, if they finish tied on points at the end of the qualifying campaign the tiebreaker will be decided by the head-to-head meetings. Since Spain beat Slovakia 2-0 and Slovakia beat them 2-1, Spain would finish ahead of them. Slovakia’s 18 points have come from six wins and a loss and they’ve scored 13 goals and allowed five against. Ukraine sits in third place with 15 points from five victories and two defeats. They’ve scored 12 goals and conceded three. None of the other three Group C teams can qualify for the tournament now. Belarus and Luxembourg each have four points while last-place Macedonia has three.
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