Scotland vs Ukraine Prediction, Odds, Picks
- Scotland and Ukraine are fighting for a place in the World Cup play-off final
- Wales await the side that comes out on top at Hampden Park on Wednesday
- This will be Ukraine’s first competitive match since the Russian invasion
Scotland vs Ukraine Odds
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Scotland vs Ukraine Pick
Most neutrals around the world will be hoping Ukraine make it to the final, but Scotland have home advantage and that could prove decisive.
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Ukraine Players Determined to Make Their Countrymen Proud
This match was supposed to be played two months ago, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine meant a World Cup play-off was suddenly far from the minds of players who had been preparing for it for some time. Russia, who had also been due to take part in the European play-offs, were thrown out by FIFA. With everything that is going on back home, Ukraine will have the support of the world behind them on Wednesday.
Arrigo Sacchi, the legendary Italian manager, once said that “football is the most important of all the least important things in life”. Occasions like this will show the quote to be true. In the grand scheme of things, of course, a World Cup play-off does not matter. It will not stop the war in Ukraine, nor bring back those who have been tragically killed in the violence.
Yet at the same time, events like this matter immensely. The Ukraine national team has the chance to give the country something to shout about. The players will feel immense pride when the anthem is sung before kick-off, and when they look up and see their compatriots in the away end at Hampden Park. They will be determined to keep their World Cup dream alive.
Ukraine reached the play-offs by finishing second to Group D. They finished six points behind France, who ended the campaign in first place with a minimum of fuss, and one clear of Finland. Ukraine did not actually lose any of their eight games, six of which ended with the scores level. If nothing else, this team has shown itself to be a tough nut to crack.
Scotland Starting to Dream of First World Cup in a Generation
When they competed in the European Championship last summer, Scotland ended a 23-year wait for an appearance at a major tournament. They did not fare particularly well at Euro 2020 (held in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic), finishing bottom of their group and becoming one of only eight sides to suffer elimination in the group phase.
Yet that appearance at the Euros has only whetted Scotland’s appetite for more. They have not played at a World Cup since 1998 and will be desperate to bring that wait to an end this year. They finished second in Group F in impressive fashion, with a sizable seven-point advantage over third-placed Israel. Scotland conceded only seven goals in their 10 qualifiers, and kept a clean sheet in three of their five games at Hampden.
This small nation of 5.5 million has produced more than its fair share of top-class players down the years, including Denis Law, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Jimmy Johnstone and Alan Hansen. Perhaps the only current player who fits that description is Andy Robertson, who will be hoping to win the Champions League with Liverpool a few days before this play-off.
But there can be no doubting the character of the team overseen by Steve Clarke, who has done a fine job since being handed the reins in 2019. Scotland are now daring to dream of a first World Cup appearance in a generation – indeed, the likes of Billy Gilmour, Aaron Hickey and David Turnbull were not even born when their country last competed on the biggest stage of all.
Ukraine Not Short of Motivation but It Might Not Be Enough
Scotland will be without Kieran Tierney for this crunch clash, which is a huge blow given the importance of the Arsenal man. Gilmour is in the squad despite an ankle injury, while a problem with the same part of the body has cleared up in time for Nathan Patterson to be involved.
Ukraine played against Borussia Monchengladbach, the German club side, in a friendly earlier this month. Still, some key players will be short of match fitness: anyone who plies their trade at home will have had few opportunities to play soccer in recent months. And although Oleksandr Petrakov, the national team manager, has had a few weeks to work with certain players, overseas-based stars like Oleksandr Zinchenko (a Premier League title winner with Manchester City) have only recently joined up with the group.
Ukraine will not be short of motivation on Wednesday, but Scotland will also be desperate to win. They are a tough team to beat at Hampden Park, which generates a fantastic atmosphere on occasions like this.
The Glaswegian public will show plenty of goodwill towards Ukraine, but the team will not do them any favors once the referee’s whistle sounds for the first time. Back Scotland to win on Wednesday.
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How to Watch Scotland vs Ukraine
|Scotland vs Ukraine Information|
|Teams||Scotland vs Ukraine|
|Location||Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland|
|Time||Wednesday, 1 June 2022, 3.00 PM EDT|
|How to watch||ESPN2, fuboTV|