Ukraine vs Sweden is unlikely to be one of the fixtures which proves to be amongst the betting highlights of Euro 2012, but for the thousands of supporters in Kiev's Olympic Stadium it will be far more meaningful than a simple punt. If the proud co-hosts manage to get all 3 points, you can bet that the celebrations will endure until the Ukraine's 2nd match against France four days later and perhaps, if they dare to dream, to the final and beyond?
The Euro 2012 betting odds are against them, however, even if a proportion of the football betting public are not. Most online bookmakers in the UK have the Ukraine priced at 9/2 to top the standings in the group they share with England, France and the Swedes, whilst the odds are an even longer 40/1 for them to come up trumps in the final on July 1st. With Sweden, amazingly, priced at 80/1 with popular online bookmaker 888sport (13/2 outsiders to win Group D), one or more of these scenarios is surely worth punting on!
The Ukraine have not played a competitive match since losing to Greece way back in 2009 and this could work either for or against them, but recent friendly results have been impressive and a draw with Germany coupled with wins against Estonia, Bulgaria, Israel & Austria have made the football betting world take note – as reflected by the upsurge of bets being placed on Oleh Blokhin's side.
Captained by talisman and living legend Andriy Shevchenko, another big advantage for the Ukraine is that they've been playing together for a number of years and, with almost 50% of the squad playing for the same club side (Dynamo Kiev) and in a competition such as this, with both league format and a knockout phase, such experience and unity could be vital and must be considered by a predictor when making betting predictions on the outcome of Ukraine vs Sweden or anyone. Other key players for the 'home' team are Bayern Munich's Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kiev) and Andriy Voronin (Dynamo Moscow) and, if they all perform to the standards which we know they are capable, it would be hard to bet against the Ukraine getting the results they require to progress.
The Swedes are proving to be somewhat of an enigma in terms of Euro 2012 betting as, indeed, they have done throughout history. Never quite living up to expectations (although not too much has ever been expected of them) yet you can always wager on them to do well against England!
Fixtures like Ukraine v Sweden won't be straightforward, however, so it's best to place your bets with caution or as part of larger multiple bets, as the return on multiple bets can often be huge even if the initial stake is small.
Sweden's most successful results have come when Sunderland midfielder Seb Larsson and AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic are on the pitch at the same time. The former is a dead-ball specialist, educated as a teenager under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, whilst the latter once rejected the chance to play under Wenger and has since gone on to enjoy a glittering career at some of Europe's top clubs. Larsson's ability to produce a telling pass and Ibra's ability to finish anything he gets a sniff at are the highlights of many a Swedish attack and will have as big an effect on where they finish in the group standngs as it will in the Ukraine v Sweden match, where it's expected that they'll be gifted slightly more freedom than against England & France.
Erik Hamren's team will, however, be playing without pressure as, at 80/1, many think their appearance at the championships will be short lived.
Try multiple betting during the Euro's, as multiple betting, similarly to a free bet, involves little risk for a potential big reward. The internet is full of stories about people winning fortunes thanks to a multiple bet or free bets, so be sure to do all of your wagering on this summer's competition in good time…