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Scotland v Ukraine - World Cup: Preview

03 October 2022 11:56:39 EST
Wing-back Andrew Robertson could have a major influence for Scotland

After months of waiting Scotland and Ukraine will finally lock horns on Wednesday evening for a chance to progress to the final of the 2022 World Cup play-offs.

The final-four tie was originally due to take place in April and Scotland will hope the extra two months of waiting will be no issue as they try to move one step closer to Qatar.

Steve Clarke's side are 1.70 to progress, while Ukraine are 2.05 to triumph at Hampden Park on Wednesday evening.

History beckons for Scotland

Scotland have not played at a World Cup since 1998, but they are now only two wins away from securing their spot at the tournament this winter.

Whoever wins Wednesday's tie in Glasgow will face Wales in the final for a place in Qatar on Sunday, before then being placed into the group which contains England, Iran and the USA.

Clarke's side impressed during qualifying, picking up 23 points from their ten matches. They won each of their previous six qualification matches, and they have since drawn their last two friendlies against Poland and Austria.

After an upturn in fortunes, Scotland are now unbeaten in eight matches, while at home they have only lost one of their previous 13 games.

Ukraine are also in good form of late, failing to lose any of their previous eight contests in all competitions. However, they have only played once since November and a lack of cohesion and match practice may be their downfall.

A Scotland win to nil is priced at 3.50 and it looks like they could come out on top in a close encounter.

Little to separate the sides

Wednesday's game will be an emotional affair for all involved, especially with so much at stake in Glasgow.

Ukraine have also struggled to qualify for the last few World Cups, last featuring at one in 2006, although they did manage to reach the quarter-finals that year, before losing 3-0 to Italy.

Wednesday's fixture will be Ukraine's first competitive fixture since they beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0 in November and the signs suggest we could witness a low-scoring affair.

Scotland have not scored more than two goals in a match since October and, with Ukraine out of practice, under 2.5 goals looks the way to go at 1.47, while a 1-0 win for Scotland in normal time is available at 6.00.

While Ukraine have won two on the spin away from home, they have not faced a team as consistent as Scotland.

Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina are not on the same level as Wednesday's hosts and that should be evident from the first whistle.

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Return of Robertson could be crucial

Scotland boss Clarke has had to deal with some injuries of late and he will be unable to select either Kieran Tierney or Ryan Jack. Both have been left out due to injury, with uncapped Allan Campbell earning a call-up.

While losing both Tierney and Jack is a blow, Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson played the full 90 minutes in Saturday's Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

The dynamic full-back is set to start after shaking off a recent injury and his experience and quality will be a huge boostfor the Scots at Hampden Park.

Scotland will be desperate to keep things tight at the back from the off and Draw/Scotland in the HT/FT market should be considered at 5.50.

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