Ukraine are slight favourites at 13/8 (BetVictor free bets) and home advantage might end up being a big deal for Oleh Blokhin’s side, with the squad containing players who almost exclusively play their domestic football on home soil. The exceptions are Anatoliy Tymoshchuk and Andriy Voronin.
Andriy Shevchenko is the household name of this Ukrainian side, although the former Milan and Chelsea has now reached a ripe old age of 35 and will play in a deeper position if selected, something that is not certain on Monday. Sheva is an 8/1 chance to score first although the player who looks more likely is Andriy Yarmolenko.
The Dynamo Kiev player is hoping to be passed fit for the encounter and he’s 8/1 (Paddy Power bookmaker) to break the deadlock although a lot rests on the 22-year-old who has a decent scoring record for his club this season.
Sweden are unlikely to be intimidated by the task in hand on Monday, with the Swedes only one of three sides to manage 30 goals in qualifying and the Scandinavians do play an expansive style of football which could find their opponents out.
Odds of 21/10 about Erik Hamrén’s side look too big considering they boast an outstanding talent in Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is arguably the best forward in the world after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The Milan forward is 6/1 to score first and could take full advantage of a weak Ukraine defence providing the co-hosts don’t get off to a blistering start.
The Swedish squad is composed of players from all manner of clubs, including PSV’s Ola Toivonen and the forward should play in a traditional striker role which could see him benefitting from link-up play with Zlatan.
Providing that the visitors aren’t overawed by the occasion, there is every reason to get with Sweden on the basis that Ukraine’s tactics appear to be a mixture of defending and then trying to counter-attack with pace.
Draw HT Sweden FT looks like a tasty wager at 6/1 (Coral) and it’s a surprise to see the Swedes as the rank outsiders to win Group D on the basis that they are a much more positive and attacking team than you previously associate them with.