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Group D Preview: No more firing blancs, Benzema

by Sean Goff | June 15, 2012

By Sean Goff

Group D betting preview: The Ukraine v France Friday, 5pm, (ITV1 and UTV)

The lowdown

The Ukraine soaked up a lot of Swedish pressure and hit them on the break for a famous 2-1 win in their Group D opener while France were comfortable if not very exciting in their 1-1 draw with England.

Match bet

The joint host-nation has never beaten France in six meeting, drawing three and losing three to Les Bleus. France had a comfortable draw against England and will want to get their campaign into full swing with three points. It mightn’t be as easy as it sounds but France to win has to be the play. Ukrainian tails are up but whether Andriy Shevchenko (translated as Superhuman goal-getter in Ukranian) plays and/or repeats his two-goal performance is the big question.

A correct score stab in the dark

France restricted England to long-range shots in their Group D opener and will look to do the same again. The attacking threat posed by Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema should keep the Ukraine busy and a 2-0 win might be on the cards.

A goalscorer bet to look out for

Karim Benzema as EURO 2012 Top Goalscorer is burning a hole in many punters’ arse pockets and the Real Madrid striker needs to get the finger out here if he’s to reward them. Being outscored by the 110-year-old Shevchenko, Karim? That’s nearly as bad as the hooker scandal. Benzema to reedem himself in the eyes of Paddy Power punters at least with two goals at 11/1.

Something a bit random

Both sides have been scoring goals pretty freely in the run-up to the tournament and with a fervoured home support the Ukraine might try to beat France at their own game. A 2-2 draw could be one to keep you watching until the final whistle goes.

Robbie Fowler says

France never looked in danger against England and I was surprised that the Ukraine beat Sweden. But for me, I can’t see the Ukraine getting a result against Laurent Blanc’s side on Friday night.

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