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Euro 2016 Play-off, first leg - preview and odds: Ukraine vs. Slovenia

Published on: 09/11/2015

Euro 2016 Play-off, first leg - preview and odds: Ukraine vs. Slovenia

November 14, 2015 17:00pm - Arena Lviv

Euro 2016 Qualifier - Play-off

Ukraine will make their sixth attempt to qualify for a major tournament via the play-off route when they face Slovenia over two legs starting at home on Saturday.

Ukraine up against old foe

Sixteen years ago, Ukraine were dumped out of the Euro 2000 play-off s by Slovenia and will be out for revenge this week as they look to qualify for the 2016 edition of the tournament. If they are to qualify, they will have to defeat their opponents for the first time in their history, having met them four times before, recording two draws and two defeats in the process.

As well as their previous Euro play-off defeat to this week’s opponents, the Ukrainians have also failed to progress to four World Cups after falling at the play-off stage.

Ukraine finished third in Group A with a joint-highest points total of 19. They were beaten twice at home during the campaign, a 0-1 reverse to Slovakia and a final match day defeat to Spain by the same score line.

Strong play-off pedigree for Slovenia

Slovenia will be led out by Srečko Katanec, the same man who led them to victory in the Euro 2000 play-offs against Ukraine. That was one of two European championship play-off matches that they have been involved in, having lost to Croatia in the 2004 edition.

In addition to their Euro 2000 play-off triumph, they have previously progressed to two World Cup Finals via the play-offs, once in 2002 when they beat Romania and again in 2010 when they defeated Russia on the away goals rule.

Slovenia finished third in Group E with a total of 16 points, well behind group winners England and runners-up Switzerland but well ahead of fourth-ranked Estonia. They won twice away from home, recording 2-0 score-lines against Lithuania and San Marino.

Team news

Ukraine will be without Olexandr Kucher and Taras Stepanenko who are both banned for the first leg due to accumulation of yellow cards.

Recent form (qualifiers)

Ukraine: LWDWW

Slovenia: WDWLL

Betting odds and tips

Ukraine do not have a great record in play-off events but they did play well in their qualifying campaign and were unlucky to lose both of their games against reigning champions Spain. They should have enough to overcome their visitors by a goal or two in the first leg. The home side can be backed at 4/6 with Bet365.

Ukraine’s top scorer Andriy Yarmolenko bagged four goals in qualifying and can be backed at 2/1 to find the net anytime on Saturday.

Published on: 09/11/2015

Any odds displayed within this preview were correct at the time of publishing (09/11/2015 14:17:17) but are subject to change.