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Alexander Isak will be key to Sweden's chances of beating Ukraine this evening
Alexander Isak will be key to Sweden's chances of beating Ukraine this evening

Round of 16: Sweden vs Ukraine, kick-off 8pm (UK time, BBC One)

Hampden Park is set to host one of the more intriguing last-16 ties tonight between Sweden and Ukraine.

Given the winners will face whoever comes out on top in England and Germany's clash, the late kick-off will not be short of attention.

With a host of entertaining players on show in Glasgow, one of the competition’s more low-key knockout games has all the ingredients to follow in the footsteps of last night's thrillers.

Story so far

Sweden finished top of Group E after a series of impressive performances and were rewarded with a last-16 tie against Ukraine, who scraped through as the lowest ranked of the third-place qualifiers.

Janne Andersson’s side did well to draw with Spain in Seville in their tournament opener and were able to build on that with wins against Slovakia and Poland.

But Ukraine should not be underestimated. Their creator in chief Ruslan Malinovskyi will engineer chances for Andriy Shevchenko’s outfit.

One win in Group C against North Macedonia was enough to see them through, despite defeats to the Netherlands and Austria.

Use the Fors

Emil Forsberg has been lethal in front of goal for Sweden
Emil Forsberg has been lethal in front of goal for Sweden

Left winger Emil Forsberg scored three of Sweden’s four goals during the group stage, netting a brace in the final match against Poland.

Cutting in from the left onto his stronger right foot, the 29-year-old will join the attack behind the strikers, almost in a No10 role, before darting forward himself.

This leaves space on the left for full-back Ludwig Augustinsson to run into and can cause the opposition numerous problems.

Oleksandr the great

Oleksandr Karavayev has caught the eye with his impressive performances at Euro 2020
Oleksandr Karavayev has caught the eye with his impressive performances at Euro 2020

Oleksandr Karavayev has generally been the more conservative of Ukraine’s two full-backs, with left-sided Vitaliy Mykolenko often the more advanced of the two.

Even so, Karavayev has created more chances (five) than any player in the Ukraine squad bar the impressive Malinovskyi (nine).

Ukraine’s best solution to stopping Forsberg and Augustinsson could be to give them something to think about in the other direction.

And Karavayev may well be the man to do just that.

Finding the target

Ukraine are the sharpest shooters remaining at Euro 2020
Ukraine are the sharpest shooters remaining at Euro 2020

Of the teams remaining in the tournament, none have managed a greater percentage of their shots on target than Ukraine.

Hungary were previously top in this regard. But following their exit, Ukraine lead the way with 14 of their 29 shots — or 48% — finding the target.

Eight of those strikes came from the boot of Andriy Yarmolenko, who likes to cut inside from his position on the right wing and shoot with his stronger left foot.

The West Ham winger boasts a 50% shot accuracy, while striker Roman Yaremchuk has found the target with four of his six shots, giving him 57.14% accuracy.

Isak success

Sweden have the second lowest average possession in the tournament so far, just ahead of Hungary.

They often rely on individual talent in attack rather than working the ball forward.

This responsibility largely falls on the shoulders of forward Alexander Isak, 21, whose sublime dribbling skills mean he is capable of creating something from nothing.

Having completed 12 of his 15 attempted take-ons, he is the outstanding dribbler in the tournament ahead of Kylian Mbappe.

If it can be maintained, a dribble success rate of 80% is at world -lass levels for this particular metric — there will be no shortage of suitors for the Real Sociedad man come the end of the tournament.

Tags

SwedenUkraineEuropean Championship

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