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Czechs look to start UEFA Nations League campaign on right foot vs Ukraine

Stanislav Tecl UEFA Nations League Czech Republic vs Ukraine

Europe’s newest international football tournament is set to kick off on Thursday and one of the curtain raisers is the clash between the Czech Republic and Ukraine. The two countries start in League B and will be looking to climb the ladder to reach the continent’s top tier.

  • This is the first-ever competitive encounter between the two countries.
  • Ukraine has never scored a goal against Czech Republic in two previous friendly games.
  • Both teams have won six of their last 10 matches.

Czech Republic looks to make positive start on home soil

With home advantage in this first match, the Czech Republic will hope to make a winning start to the new tournament. Their recent home form has been excellent and the side has lost just one of their last eight encounters when playing in front of their own fans.

While their recent form overall has been patchy, they have still managed to win six of their last 10 games, and they certainly have the upper hand against Ukraine. Back in 2011, playing at home, they thrashed their next opponents 4-0 and, while this match may not be so much of a rout, there is no denying the odds remain in the Czechs’ favor.

Looking at one of the simplest bets you can make based on the outcome of the game, it is the home side which comes in as the clear favorite to make a winning start to the UEFA Nations League. The Czech Republic is at +130 to take the points, with Ukraine further out at +230.

If you think the match is too close to call, you can of course opt for the “Double Chance” option, which allows you to choose two possible outcomes for the match rather than just one. A win for the Czech Republic or a draw is at -295, while a Ukraine win or a draw comes in at -163. Alternatively, you can back either side to take all three points at -275.

Ukraine looking light up front

Already having a tough task on their hands, it has not gotten any easier for visitors Ukraine prior to this match. Dynamo Kiev striker Artem Besyedin has been ruled out through injury, thus robbing the visitors of their most potent attacking threat and tipping the odds even further into the favor of the hosts.

Given the fact that Ukraine has never scored a goal against the Czech Republic and they will be without their star striker on Thursday, it is increasingly likely that the Czechs will come out on top. You can therefore back the hosts to win to nil (without Ukraine scoring a goal) at +240.

In addition, you can back the hosts to win either half at -138, while they are at +800 to win both halves. It is of course never easy to try to predict the exact score of any given game, but a comfortable 2-0 win for the Czech Republic comes in at +850.

Visitors could however spring a surprise

Ukraine can however take heart from the fact that the Czech Republic did not look particularly strong when it came to World Cup qualifying. The Czechs trailed both Germany and Northern Ireland in their qualifying group and failed to make it to Russia.

As such, Ukraine may well feel that at least a draw is within their grasp, with a stalemate in this clash priced at +220. Goals may well be thin on the ground, however, and you can back a goalless draw at +600.

There looks to be a lack of quality to both squads and this is unlikely to be a game that will go down in the footballing annals. UNDER 2.5 goals in the match is priced at just -188, while OVER 2.5 goals – which, frankly, looks unlikely – is at the higher price of +140.

In addition, Ukraine’s recent form has been slightly more stable than that of the Czech Republic. They lost away to Iceland and World Cup finalist Croatia, but are currently unbeaten in their last five outings and will be confident of extending that run against an out-of-sorts Czech Republic outfit.