Euro 2016: Sweden Seek Redemption, Ukraine Confident

Sweden fans (via Flikr Creative Commons).
Sweden fans (via Flikr Creative Commons). /

Euro 2016 qualification play-offs are here, and Kevin Kelly previews two matches here: Denmark vs. Sweden; and Slovenia vs. Ukraine

Denmark vs. Sweden

Scandinavian rivals Denmark and Sweden play the second leg of their 2016 European Championship qualifying playoff on Tuesday night and it is the away side that hold the advantage after a 2-1 victory over the Danes in Stockholm.

Denmark were handed a late lifeline on Saturday as Nicolai Jorgensen’s strike with ten minutes remaining put the deficit down to just one goal.

The tie is set up intriguingly, with the Danes seen as favourites to win the game, but not to qualify.

Denmark had won the last four meetings between the two rival nations prior to the first leg result on Saturday night and there was a feeling among the Danish support that the tie could be negotiated with ease.

With an away goal Martin Olsen’s men will know all is required is a 1-0 win, so hopes of qualification will likely remain high ahead of Tuesday’s clash.

Denmark have a good home record at the moment, boasting a six match unbeaten record on home soil.

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However, the Danes have failed to win any of their last five matches played, which will surely weigh heavily on the minds of the players who are chasing the game.

Sweden meanwhile will be disappointed to have conceded such a late goal, despite going into the match with a superior aggregate score.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored one of Sweden’s goals on Saturday and had one disallowed too; remaining the player to watch in Tuesday’s clash.

Sweden are not good travellers, having won just two of their last nine matches away from home.

Saturday ended what was a six match unbeaten streak for Denmark against the Swedes.

Denmark vs. Sweden Match Prediction

The tie is finely poised and Denmark could progress with a 1-0 win so the match is set up to be one that is played out like a chess game with both teams set to line up with a tactical approach that will prioritise not conceding.

 Slovenia vs. Ukraine

Slovenia welcome Ukraine to the Stožice Stadium on Tuesday night as they look to salvage their play-off for the European Championships in France next summer, having lost the first-leg 2-0 away from home on Saturday evening.


Slovenia will be deeply disappointed with Saturday evening’s 2-0 defeat to Ukraine at the Arena Lviv.

The away side were by far the second best side throughout the match, and could be considered lucky to have left with a sliver of hope that they can salvage the tie on Tuesday night.

The loss was Slovenia’s first against Ukraine – previously winning two and drawing two of the four matches which they’ve met each other.

Slovenia have a solid home record having won five of their last seven competitive fixtures in their own country, with only England handing them defeat.


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Ukraine meanwhile will be buoyed ahead of Tuesday’s match, having consummately outclassed Slovenia on Saturday.

Goals courtesy of  Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Seleznyov on the night were enough to put Ukraine in the driving seat and odds on to qualify for next summer’s tournament in France.

Ukraine have only lost one of their last six matches, and perhaps can be forgiven for the one blotch in their form book, given it against Spain.

Ukraine can welcome back Olexandr Kucher and Taras Stepanenko to first-team action having both missed the first-leg win through suspension. The latter is likely to come straight back into the side.

Ruslan Rotan, however, is still out with injury and won’t be available for selection.

Slovenia vs. Ukraine Match Prediction

Slovenia will hope to draw on their play-off final success over Ukraine that falls 16 years exactly on the day where a 1-1 draw was enough to see them through to Euro 2000.

They will, however, need to score at least three goals if they are to go through here, a feat they’ve only managed twice in their last 20 outings.