MX23RW : Tuesday, September 28 01:50:02| >> :600:1791476:1791476:
Jun 29, 2021 at 8pm UK at Hampden Park
SwedenSweden
1-2
UkraineUkraine
Forsberg (43')
Kulusevski (69'), Forsberg (85')
Danielsson (98')
FT
(aet)
Zinchenko (27'), Dovbyk (120+1')
Yarmolenko (79'), Dovbyk (120+1')

Preview: Sweden vs. Ukraine - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's European Championship clash between Sweden and Ukraine, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

After Sweden scored a late winner to top Group E last week - unwittingly helping Ukraine into the last 16 - the pair now clash in Glasgow on Tuesday evening.

With their Euro 2020 campaigns having progressed very differently so far, the final tie of the first knockout round will pit together an in-form Swedish side with decidedly fortunate opponents - who qualified with just three points and a negative goal difference.


Match preview

Sweden's Emil Forsberg celebrates scoring their second goal against Poland at Euro 2020 on June 23, 2021© Reuters

Already assured of a place in the knockout stages for the first time since 2004, Sweden snatched a dramatic victory over Poland last Wednesday; beating Spain to first place in a tightly-contested group with their second successive win.

Following their previous defeat of Slovakia, the Swedes squandered a two-goal advantage - with Robert Lewandowski leading a spirited Polish comeback - but substitute Viktor Claesson sealed their sixth straight win over the Eagles and, incidentally, an extra day of rest going into the latter stages.

Currently competing at their sixth successive continental finals, the Blagult's latest victory may have been only a third from their last 11 outings at the Euros, but it also extended a calendar-year unbeaten run to eight games and counting - demonstrating that Janne Andersson's squad are not to be underestimated.

As the 2018 World Cup quarter-finalists picked up seven points in a competitive group and find themselves in the 'weaker' side of the draw, they may fancy their prospects of progressing yet further should they see off Ukraine, as they seek to emulate - or even surpass - the class of '92, who memorably reached the semi-finals on home soil.

Leading the current generation's hopes have been three-goal top scorer Emil Forsberg, of RB Leipzig, enterprising forward Alexander Isak - the youngest player to score a senior international goal for the Nordic nation - and Juventus prospect Dejan Kulusevski, who made an impact from the bench last time out by providing two assists.

With a resolute back four almost a given in all Swedish sides, Andersson's attacking unit has also managed to meet the collective challenge of covering for Zlatan Ibrahimovic's absence with relative ease so far.

Now, after enjoying a relaxed day off in Gothenburg for Midsummer's Eve - traditionally an important national holiday - Sweden can turn their full focus to their next encounter, where they must rise to the rare status of favourites.

Ukraine manager Andriy Shevchenko on June 7, 2021© Reuters

Perhaps the nation most relieved to still be in the competition, Ukraine endured an anxious wait to discover their fate last Wednesday, as they were ultimately confirmed as only the fourth-best of the third-placed sides at the end of the group stage.

With just three points from as many games, Andriy Shevchenko's team finished behind the Netherlands and Austria in Group C, but Sweden's late win helped the Synio-Zhovti qualify for the knockout stage for the first time since independence.

As a result, Ukrainian supporters hung a giant combined Ukraine-Sweden flag in front of the Swedish embassy in Kiev, carrying the message: 'Thank you, Sweden, for the round of 16.' However, the side ranked 24th in the world will now attempt to bite the hand that fed them, when the pair battle for the right to meet either England or Germany in the last eight.

The only previous competitive meeting between the two nations carries a special place in Ukrainian hearts, as they marked their Euros debut with a 2-1 win against the Blagult in Kiev, at Euro 2012. On that emotional night at the Olympiyskiy, two icons went head-to-head, as Ibrahimovic struck first for the Swedes, while Shevchenko levelled just three minutes later, before netting a 62nd-minute winner.

However, Ukraine failed to progress from their group on that occasion - and in 2016 they lost each of their three games - so this current outfit have now stumbled onto new ground for a proud football nation.

If they are to take advantage of their good fortune on Tuesday, Shevchenko's men will again rely on the talents of Atalanta sharp-shooter Ruslan Malinovskyi and their vastly experienced creator-in-chief, Andriy Yarmolenko, whose two goals and one assist so far have helped him to surpass 'Sheva' as the national record-holder for goal involvements: his overall tallies now standing at 42 goals and 21 assists.

Sweden European Championship form:
  • D
  • W
  • W

Sweden form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Ukraine European Championship form:
  • L
  • W
  • L

Ukraine form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L



Team News

Sweden coach Janne Andersson applauds fans after the match on June 14, 2021© Reuters

Following three successive displays of typically selfless running and collective sacrifice, Sweden's resources may be depleted, but they have rested and recuperated at home and could well name an unchanged XI.

Mainz forward Robin Quaison replaced veteran striker Marcus Berg in the lineup last time out, with Janne Andersson again set to send his team out in their trademark 4-4-2 formation again at Hampden - but Berg would return to partner Alexander Isak up front should a more physical focal point be required.

Both Dejan Kulusevski and Bologna midfielder Mattias Svanberg were cleared to return after COVID-19 infection earlier in the tournament, and the former is a serious contender to earn a first start after setting up two goals from the bench against Poland. However, Andersson could be more inclined to utilise the former Parma winger as a potential 'super sub', with Emil Forsberg and stalwart Sebastian Larsson providing exceptional work-rate on the flanks.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's main concern coming into the game is on the left side of their three-man attack, as Viktor Tsyhankov and Oleksandr Zubkov are both struggling with calf injuries.

Having shoehorned midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi into the role during the past two matches, Andriy Shevchenko is expected to now move him back into the central three and hope that left-footed right-winger Tsyhankov - often impressive in qualifying - can at least last an hour from the start.

That could mean Shakhtar Donetsk's Mykola Shaparenko dropping out of the side, with the back four - including 18-year-old Illia Zabarnyi (Ukraine's youngest player to appear at a major finals) - left unchanged, particularly as centre-back Denys Popov has been ruled out.

Sweden possible starting lineup:
Olsen; Lustig, Lindelof, Danielson, Augustinsson; S. Larsson, Ekdal, Olsson, Forsberg; Quaison, Isak

Ukraine possible starting lineup:
Bushchan; Karavaev, Matviyenko, Zabarnyi, Mykolenko; Malinovskyi, Sydorchuk, Zinchenko; Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk, Tsyhankov


SM words green background

We say: Sweden 2-1 Ukraine

Though Ukraine have sufficient attacking talent to break down a resolute Sweden rearguard at some point during the 90 - or perhaps 120 - minutes, the Swedes have barely lost in recent months for good reason.

Boasting their own handful of final-third threats, the Blagult can snatch the win and progress to the next stage, as a little collective cohesion goes a long way in tournament football.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Draw:data


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How you voted: Sweden vs Ukraine

Sweden
76.4%
Draw
9.3%
Ukraine
14.3%
580
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Ukraine's Oleksandr Zinchenko celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on June 7, 2021
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Ukraine Euro 2020 preview - prediction, fixtures, squad, star player
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