Ukraine v Poland: Lax late defending to cost Ukraine again

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Final group games of any competition can fall into two categories; those that serve as de facto knockout matches, where everything is to play for and, well, those that don’t.

Poland’s clash with Ukraine can be marked down as one of the latter.

Adam Nawalka’s men are already assured a top three spot in Group C, while Ukraine have the dubious honour of being the first side eliminated from the competition. There is little incentive, then, for either nation to give their all in their last assignment.

The Robert Lewandowski-led White Eagles are pretty much guaranteed at least second place in the section, unless they lose and Northern Ireland beat Germany, in which case finishing third is a possibility.

However, with the double of those two upsets paying out at a whopping 51/1 with us, it’s safe to assume that Poland are a top-two lock.

A pedestrian effort against a weak Ukraine side, with perhaps a number of key players rested, looks likely in Marseille. Judging by the Yellow-Blue’s performances thus far though, even Poland’s second-string will enjoy the encounter.

It’s an even-money chance that Poland prevail in the Stade Velodrome, with Ukraine priced up at 3/1 and the draw available at odds of 5/2.

Factoring in the potential for a dead-rubber atmosphere, it’s instead the shorter, but more confidence-inspiring, 8/11 about Poland bagging the last goal of the game that is advised.

Half of the four goals Ukraine have shipped at the tournament so far have come in injury time, while Poland’s only strike in their two outings doubled as both the opening and closing goalmouth action against Northern Ireland.

A tournament-wide trend for late strikes also bodes well for this punt, with a whopping 15 goals arriving in the final 10 minutes of games.

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.