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Ukraine’s twin terrors must be shackled by England in Kiev

| 10.09.2013

If England are to stop in-form Ukraine from going top of Group H with victory, then they must pay close attention to the attacking talents of Yevhen Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko.

The Three Lions know only too well the dangers posed by this Ukraine side.

England have already succumbed to a 1-1 draw with Ukraine at Wembley and in particular must be aware of the threat of the scorer that day Konoplyanka – whose spectacular first-half strike very nearly proved the difference – and more well-known Dynamo Kiev forward Yarmolenko, if they are to avoid defeat.

Konoplyanka plies his trade as a left-winger for Ukrainian Premier League outfit Dnipro, while Yarmolenko is another who favours his left-foot and can also play as a main striker.

Between them, these technically gifted 23-year-olds have been instrumental in turning Ukraine’s fortunes around, with one or the other being on the scoresheet in each of the four victories which have catapulted them back into contention in Group H.

Unsurprisingly Yarmolenko is the shortest price of any Ukraine player to score against England at 11/5, while the more tempting bet is Konoplyanka at 4/1 with Ladbrokes, especially as he’s notched on his last two starts.

Admittedly, Konoplyanka’s latest strike arrived in the 9-0 rout of San Marino, but this is a winger who’s already hit eight goals in just 30 international appearances and has twice been named
Ukrainian Football Player of the Year, despite his young age.

It ‘s hardly ideal for England that he will be up against Kyle Walker, whose own preparations for the match haven’t been helped by unnecessary shenanigans off the pitch, while the Tottenham man is not renowned for his defensive assuredness.

Meanwhile, Yarmolenko looks likely to play a floating role and it may mean Steven Gerrard is forced deeper to help out Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.