Euro 2012 will see Ukraine participate in the European Championships for the first time since becoming independent from the Soviet Union in 1991.
However, seven of the eleven who started the 1988 final – where Soviet Union were defeated by Holland – were from Ukraine, and though current coach Oleh Blokhin did not feature, he did score his final international goal in a qualifier for the ’88 tournament against Norway.
Blokhin was the Soviet Union’s all-time leading goal scorer (42) and caps winner (112) and will hope to use his experience to guide his team through a difficult group, with the added benefit of doing so on home soil.
Of the thirteen tournaments so far, only Spain, Italy and France have won the trophy in their own country. However, the hosts (or in the case of the 2000 Championships, co-hosts Holland) have made the semi-finals in every tournament bar Euro 2008, which was co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland.
Of the thirteen tournaments so far, only Spain, Italy and France have won the trophy in their own country.
Ukraine are priced at 5/1 to reach the last four of the competition. Punters who use their free £25 bet will see a return of £150 if Blokhin’s men make the semi-finals.
In terms of the FIFA rankings, only co-hosts Poland (65th) are listed below Ukraine (50th) of the sixteen countries involved in the tournament.
They are unbeaten in three home internationals, though they have lost to France and Sweden in Ukraine in the last twelve months. They will of course face both nations, as well as England, in the group stages.
In fact, of the thirteen matches they have played against their three group opponents since their independence, they have won just twice; beating England in a 2010 World Cup qualifier in Dnipro, along with a 1-0 friendly victory against Sweden two years previously in Stockholm.
They play their first group game, against Sweden, on June 11th and are 27/20 for the win.
That said, home advantage or not, you may see better value in backing the Swedes – who won eight of their ten qualifiers – at 21/10. The draw is also priced at 21/10
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