Slovakia vs Ukraine Predictions


Slovakia vs Ukraine predictions for this Euro 2024 fixture. Slovakia, boosted by their win over Belgium, aim for three points against Ukraine in Friday’s Euro 2024 clash. Continue reading below for all our free tips and predictions.


European Championship | Group Stage – Jun 21, 2024 at 2pm UK at Merkur Spiel-Arena

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Slovakia vs Ukraine Predictions

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Key Stats

– Slovakia have kept three consecutive clean sheets.

– Ukraine managed only two shots on target in their opening match despite 70% possession.

– Juraj Kucka is Slovakia’s top scorer in the current squad with 14 goals.

Can Slovakia Continue Their Surprising Run Against Ukraine?

As the Euro 2024 group stage progresses, Slovakia will be looking to build on their unexpected victory over Belgium when they face Ukraine at the Dusseldorf Arena. While Slovakia are buoyed by their surprise win, Ukraine are desperately searching for their first points after a disappointing start against Romania.

Match Preview

Slovakia, the lowest-ranked team in Group E, showcased a commendable performance in their opening match, securing a 1-0 win over Belgium. This victory came despite some contentious moments, including the disallowing of Romelu Lukaku’s late goal. Ivan Schranz’s early strike was enough to see off the Red Devils, ending Belgium’s impressive 15-game unbeaten streak.

This win marked Slovakia’s second consecutive successful opener in the European Championships, following their triumph over Poland in Euro 2020. However, history warns them of the potential pitfalls ahead, as they subsequently lost their next two group stage matches in the previous tournament.

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In contrast, Ukraine’s journey to Euro 2024 was arduous, requiring come-from-behind victories in the playoffs against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iceland. Despite their resilient qualifying campaign, Ukraine stumbled in their tournament opener, succumbing to a 3-0 defeat against Romania. Despite dominating possession, they struggled to convert their control into meaningful chances, registering just two shots on target.

Slovakia’s robust defensive display against Belgium, highlighted by their ability to keep a clean sheet for the third consecutive match, will be a key focus as they aim to secure a place in the knockout rounds. Ukraine, on the other hand, need a win to keep their qualification hopes alive, having managed only one victory in their last ten group stage matches at the Euros.

Team News

Slovakia are expected to stick with the same starting XI that achieved victory over Belgium. Milan Skriniar will continue to lead the defence, supported by David Hancko, Denis Vavro, and Peter Pekarik. Robert Bozenik, who made his major tournament debut in the previous match, will spearhead the attack, looking to add to his international goal tally.

Ukraine might see some changes, particularly in midfield, with Ruslan Malinovskyi potentially starting. Vitaliy Mykolenko’s fitness remains a concern after he missed the opener due to a foot injury. Artem Dovbyk, despite a lacklustre performance against Romania, is expected to continue as the main attacking threat, having been the top scorer in the Ukrainian league.

Expected Lineups

Dubravka; Pekarik, Vavro, Skriniar, Hancko; Kucka, Lobotka, Duda; Schranz, Haraslin, Bozenik

Lunin; Konoplya, Zabarnyi, Matvienko, Zinchenko; Sudakov, Stepanenko, Malinovskyi; Tsygankov, Mudryk, Dovbyk

Key Players and Tactical Analysis

For Slovakia, Milan Skriniar’s leadership in defence will be pivotal. His partnership with David Hancko and Denis Vavro needs to be solid to withstand Ukraine’s attempts. In the midfield, Juraj Kucka’s experience and Stanislav Lobotka’s playmaking abilities will be crucial. Robert Bozenik, despite his modest scoring record, must exploit any defensive lapses from Ukraine.

Ukraine will rely heavily on the creativity of Mykhaylo Mudryk and Viktor Tsygankov to break down Slovakia’s defence. The midfield trio of Stepanenko, Sudakov, and Malinovskyi must control the tempo and ensure better service to Dovbyk, who needs to improve his finishing.

Tactical Analysis: Deep-Dive


Offensive and Defensive Strategies

Slovakia’s approach against Belgium was a masterclass in defensive resilience. Their strategy revolved around a solid backline led by Milan Skriniar, who marshalled the defence effectively. Skriniar, alongside David Hancko and Denis Vavro, ensured that Slovakia maintained their shape and composure, even under intense pressure. This defensive solidity was crucial in nullifying Belgium’s attacking threats. Offensively, Slovakia relied on quick transitions and set-pieces. Ivan Schranz’s goal was a testament to their ability to capitalise on limited opportunities, and their attacking play often involved exploiting the flanks with Lukas Haraslin and Schranz providing width.

Ukraine, in contrast, employed a possession-based strategy in their match against Romania. Despite enjoying over 70% possession, their inability to convert this dominance into goals was evident. Serhiy Rebrov’s side struggled to break down a well-organised Romanian defence, managing just two shots on target. Ukraine’s offensive play heavily depended on the creativity of Mykhaylo Mudryk and Viktor Tsygankov. Defensively, Ukraine’s backline, including Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilya Zabarnyi, failed to deal with Romania’s counter-attacks and long-range efforts, leading to their downfall.

Key Player Performances

For Slovakia, Milan Skriniar’s leadership at the back was instrumental. His BettingTips4you Expert Rating highlights his significance in Slovakia’s defensive setup. Stanislav Lobotka’s role in midfield, breaking up play and initiating counter-attacks, was also pivotal. Ivan Schranz, with his crucial goal, proved his worth in critical moments. On the offensive front, Robert Bozenik’s movement and hold-up play provided Slovakia with a focal point in attack, despite his limited goal-scoring record.

Ukraine’s standout performer was Mykhaylo Mudryk. His dribbling and pace were constant threats, though he lacked the final product. Viktor Tsygankov’s performance was another positive, as he tried to create openings with his passing and movement. However, Artem Dovbyk, Ukraine’s top scorer in the league, had a subdued game, managing just one shot. Defensively, Oleksandr Zinchenko’s versatility was on display, but he struggled to cope with Romania’s attacks.

Managerial Impact

Francesco Calzona’s management of Slovakia has been noteworthy. His emphasis on a disciplined defensive structure and effective use of set-pieces has paid dividends. Calzona’s ability to instil a fighting spirit in his team was evident in their performance against Belgium, where they defended resolutely and took their chances when they arose.

Serhiy Rebrov, on the other hand, faces criticism for Ukraine’s lacklustre performance against Romania. His possession-based approach did not translate into effective attacking play, and the team’s defensive frailties were exposed. Rebrov needs to find a balance between maintaining possession and creating clear-cut opportunities, as well as tightening up defensively.

Expected Goals Analysis

Slovakia’s expected goals (xG) metrics from the Belgium match would likely indicate a lower value, reflecting their strategy of defending deep and hitting on the break. Their efficiency in front of goal, exemplified by Schranz’s strike, was crucial. Slovakia managed four shots on target, demonstrating their ability to make the most of their chances.

Ukraine’s expected goals from the Romania match would be disappointing given their possession stats. Despite controlling the game, their inability to convert possession into high-quality chances was evident, managing only two shots on target. Rebrov’s side needs to improve their shot conversion rate to pose a greater threat.


Comparison of Tactics and Performances

Slovakia’s tactics of solid defence and quick counter-attacks contrast sharply with Ukraine’s possession-based approach. Slovakia’s ability to stay compact and disciplined defensively, coupled with opportunistic attacking, gives them a pragmatic edge. Ukraine, despite their technical prowess and control of possession, have struggled with efficiency in the final third and defensive organisation.

In terms of player performances, Slovakia’s key players like Skriniar, Lobotka, and Schranz have delivered when it mattered. Ukraine, while having individual talents like Mudryk and Tsygankov, need their key players to step up and deliver more consistently. The managerial styles also reflect this contrast, with Calzona’s pragmatic approach proving more effective than Rebrov’s possession-heavy strategy.

Suggestions for Improvement

For Slovakia, maintaining their defensive discipline will be crucial. However, they need to improve their offensive output and create more chances. Integrating more fluid attacking movements and involving midfielders like Juraj Kucka in advanced positions could enhance their goal-scoring potential.

Ukraine need to find a balance between possession and penetration. They must convert their dominance in possession into tangible chances. Improving their defensive solidity, particularly against counter-attacks, is also essential. Rebrov should consider a more direct approach in attack, utilising the pace and dribbling skills of Mudryk and Tsygankov more effectively.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Slovakia’s primary strength lies in their defensive organisation. Skriniar’s leadership and the cohesive defensive unit provide a solid foundation. However, their reliance on set-pieces and counter-attacks can make them predictable in attack. Their front line lacks a prolific scorer, which could be a concern in tight matches.

Ukraine’s strengths are their technical ability and possession play. Mudryk and Tsygankov offer creativity and flair, while Zinchenko provides versatility. However, their weaknesses are glaring in their defensive lapses and inefficiency in front of goal. Rebrov’s management has been questioned, and his tactics need to evolve to maximise the team’s potential.

Potential Game Dynamics

This match is likely to be a tactical battle. Slovakia will aim to absorb pressure and hit Ukraine on the counter, utilising the pace of their wingers and the physical presence of Bozenik. Ukraine, desperate for points, will push forward aggressively, but they need to be wary of Slovakia’s counter-attacks.


  1. Best Bet: Draw

This match between Slovakia and Ukraine has all the hallmarks of a tightly contested affair. Slovakia will be buoyed by their impressive defensive display against Belgium, where they showcased their ability to hold off one of the tournament’s favourites. Their robust defence, led by Milan Skriniar, managed to keep Belgium at bay, suggesting they can do the same against a less threatening Ukrainian attack.

On the other hand, Ukraine, despite their poor showing against Romania, have enough quality in their squad to at least secure a point. The need for both teams to avoid defeat to stay in contention for the knockout stages will likely result in a cautious approach, making a draw the most probable outcome. The disciplined defensive strategies and the urgency to avoid a loss from both sides indicate a match where neither team will find enough edge to claim all three points.

  1. Correct Score: Slovakia 1-1 Ukraine

Given the analysis of both teams’ strengths and weaknesses, a 1-1 draw seems the most fitting prediction. Slovakia’s defensive resilience, as displayed against Belgium, combined with their ability to score through key players like Ivan Schranz, suggests they can breach Ukraine’s defence. However, Ukraine’s need to bounce back from their disappointing loss to Romania will see them push forward aggressively, making it likely they will score at least once.

The balance between Slovakia’s solid backline and Ukraine’s attacking potential points towards a game where both teams will manage to score, but neither will dominate enough to secure a win. This scoreline reflects the expected cautious yet competitive nature of the match.

  1. Goalscorer: Juraj Kucka

Juraj Kucka stands out as a strong candidate to score in this match. As Slovakia’s leading scorer in the current squad, Kucka has the experience and skill to find the back of the net. His ability to shoot from distance and his knack for being in the right place at the right time make him a consistent threat to Ukraine’s defence.

In a match that is expected to be closely contested, Kucka’s experience in delivering under pressure will be invaluable. Given Ukraine’s defensive vulnerabilities, especially after their performance against Romania, Kucka’s chances of scoring are significantly enhanced, making him a reliable pick for a goalscorer.

  1. Corner Prediction: Total Over 9.5 Corners

The expectation of a high corner count in this match is based on both teams’ playing styles and statistical trends. Slovakia have averaged 7.3 corners per game in the qualifiers, indicating their attacking intent and ability to pressure opponents into conceding corners. Ukraine, with an average of 4.2 corners per game, also contribute to a high number of corners.

Given Ukraine’s need to attack aggressively to secure their first points of the tournament, and Slovakia’s counter-attacking prowess, the match is likely to see numerous corners. Both teams will aim to exploit set-piece opportunities, driving up the corner count to over 9.5.

  1. Shot on Target: Viktor Tsygankov

Viktor Tsygankov is expected to register at least one shot on target in this match. As one of Ukraine’s most consistent performers, Tsygankov’s role on the wing allows him to cut inside and unleash shots frequently.

His technical ability and confidence in taking on defenders make him a continuous threat. Despite Ukraine’s struggles in their opening match, Tsygankov’s individual skill ensures that he will create and take chances. Slovakia’s defence, while robust, will need to keep a close eye on Tsygankov, who has the capability to test the goalkeeper multiple times during the game.

  1. Yellow Card: Taras Stepanenko

Taras Stepanenko is a strong candidate to receive a yellow card in this match due to his combative playing style. As a defensive midfielder, Stepanenko’s role involves breaking up play and making crucial tackles. His aggressive approach often results in fouls, and given the high stakes of this match, he is likely to be heavily involved in physical duels.

Slovakia’s midfield, with players like Juraj Kucka driving forward, will challenge Stepanenko, increasing the likelihood of him committing fouls that warrant a booking. His disciplinary record and playing style make him a prime candidate for a yellow card.

  1. Assist Prediction: Mykhaylo Mudryk

Mykhaylo Mudryk’s creativity and pace on the flanks make him a likely candidate for providing an assist in this match. Mudryk’s ability to deliver precise crosses and through balls can exploit any gaps in Slovakia’s defence. His performance will be crucial for Ukraine, especially in a game where creating and converting chances is vital for their chances of progression.

Mudryk’s vision and technical skill ensure that he can set up his teammates in scoring positions, and given Slovakia’s occasional vulnerability to fast wingers, Mudryk’s chances of registering an assist are high. His involvement in Ukraine’s attacking play will be pivotal in unlocking Slovakia’s defence.

  1. Innovative Market: First Half Over 1.5 Goals

Predicting over 1.5 goals in the first half is based on the attacking urgency both teams will bring into the match. Slovakia, riding high from their win over Belgium, will be keen to start strong, while Ukraine, desperate to avoid another defeat, will likely push forward aggressively from the outset. This scenario creates the potential for an open and attacking first half.

Slovakia’s willingness to counter-attack and Ukraine’s need to impose themselves early on suggest that the first 45 minutes could be filled with goal-scoring opportunities. Both teams’ recent matches have shown tendencies for early goals, making this a viable and innovative market to consider.

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Steve Harrington
Steve Harrington is a sportswriter whose heart beats for football. With a passion that began in the grassroots, he's witnessed the magic of the game from local pitches to grand stadiums. Over the past 7 years, Steve has lent his expertise to several online publications, chronicling the ever-evolving world of football. Beyond his professional pursuits, he holds a special affection for Burnley Football Club, cherishing every triumph and tribulation. Steve believes in the power of storytelling and its ability to bring the beautiful game closer to its ardent fans.