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

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

Ukraine take on Austria in Group C of Euro 2020 on Monday.

The two nations head into the meeting level on three points after both beating North Macedonia and losing to Netherlands in their opening two matches, so a draw would almost certainly see both teams progress to the knockout stages.


Match preview

Ukraine's Roman Yaremchuk celebrates scoring against North Macedonia at Euro 2020 on June 17, 2021© Reuters

After falling to Denzel Dumfries's late winner in a pulsating 3-2 defeat to Netherlands in their opening match, Ukraine bounced back with a 2-1 win against North Macedonia on Thursday.

Andriy Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk, who both scored in the defeat to Frank de Boer's side, got themselves on the scoresheet once again during a comfortable first half, but Ezgjan Alioski's strike before the hour mark set up a nervy finish to the game.

However, Andriy Shevchenko's side managed to hold on to ensure that destiny remains in their own hands ahead of their last group game against Austria on Monday.

Due to having scored one more goal than the Austrians, a draw would guarantee Ukraine's progression to the last 16 in second place, so it remains to be seen whether Shevchenko sets up his side in a more cautious manner than we have seen so far.

Austria's David Alaba pictured on March 31, 2021© Reuters

For Austria, then, playing for a draw would be a more risky strategy, as it would mean that they would be hoping to be one of the four best third-placed teams in order to advance in the competition.

However, it is tough to envisage any side with four points and a neutral goal difference not going through given that one or two third-placed teams from other groups are likely to only have three points (or perhaps four points with a negative goal difference).

Should Ukraine and Austria essentially play for a draw as many people are predicting, it would not be the first time the Austrian national team have been embroiled in a similarly controversial scenario.

Heading into their final group game against West Germany at the 1982 World Cup, both nations knew that a one or two-goal victory for the West Germans would guarantee both sides' progression to the knockout stages. West Germany duly took the lead after 10 minutes, with neither side even attempting to attack for the rest of the match.

Let us hope we do not see a similar spectacle on Monday. In fairness, having comfortably been beaten 2-0 by Netherlands on Thursday, Austria manager Franco Foda may look to prioritise restoring confidence within his ranks by going for the win.

Ukraine European Championship form:
  • L
  • W

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

Austria European Championship form:
  • W
  • L

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



Team News

Austria's Marko Arnautovic celebrates scoring against North Macedonia at Euro 2020 on June 13, 2021© Reuters

Ukraine will remain without winger Oleksandr Zubkov, who went off with a muscle strain in their opening match against Netherlands, but otherwise Shevchenko appears to have a fully-fit squad to choose from.

The 44-year-old brought Mykola Shaparenko and Taras Stepanenko into his midfield against North Macedonia, with the Blue and Yellow's looking more balanced as a result, so it could be an unchanged line-up from the 2-1 win.

Yarmolenko and Yaremchuk will be keen to find the back of the net once again as the attacking duo compete with the likes of Patrik Schick, Romelu Lukaku, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ciro Immobile to earn the tournament's Golden Boot.

Austria, meanwhile, will welcome Marko Arnautovic back to the fold after the former West Ham United and Stoke City forward served his one-match ban against Netherlands.

The 32-year-old celebrated in an angry manner after coming off the bench to score against North Macedonia, with UEFA suspending him for "insulting another player."

Prior to Arnautovic's ban, Foda had suggested that the forward was set to start against Netherlands, so after a limp offensive display we expect the forward to come into Austria's starting XI.

Sasa Kalajdzic could also be restored alongside him in attack after Christoph Baumgartner and Michael Gregoritsch failed to impress against De Boer's side.

Ukraine possible starting lineup:
Bushchan; Karavayev, Zabarnyi, Matviyenko, Mykolenko; Shaparenko, Stepanenko, Zinchenko; Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk, Malinovskiy

Austria possible starting lineup:
Bachmann; Dragovic, Alaba, Hinteregger; Lainer, Laimer, Schlager, Sabitzer, Ulmer; Kalajdzic, Arnautovic


SM words green background

We say: Ukraine 1-1 Austria

With a draw guaranteeing second place for Ukraine and in all likelihood progression to the last 16 for Austria, too, it is difficult to expect any other outcome.

However, Ukraine have certainly looked a slicker outfit than Austria so far, so Foda's side may be up against it if they concede first.



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: Ukraine vs Austria

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Draw
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Austria
12.0%
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Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

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