Ukraine have won both of their previous meetings with Finland and will be confident ahead of Sunday’s game after earning a draw against France in midweek, but I think the visitors could sneak a draw in Kiev.
Andriy Shevchenko’s side have done everyone a favour by forcing the World Cup champions to drop a couple of points, but they were fortunate to say the least in Paris having scored through a lucky deflection, while their five-man back line was hanging on desperately for long periods.
They may switch to a back four here and I think there’s a danger that they could underestimate Finland. The Finns came close to beating Bosnia in their World Cup opener, and have shown they can be an effective team on the road, having beaten France in a friendly last November, so they look a good bet for a point.
Outbox didn’t build on his two-year-old promise last season, but new trainer Archie Watson seems to have found the key to him and he can land this small-field conditions event on the second day of Doncaster’s Lincoln meeting
Two miles proved to be beyond him in January but the drop back to twelve furlongs earlier this month saw him recapture the winning thread with an impressive from-the-front performance carrying top weight and none of his three rivals for this one are in the same class. Back him to make all and land another win.
Iceland are favourites for this Group J qualification clash on Sunday, but I think the market overestimates their chances in what could be a tough game.
It is fair to say that the visitors’ run of six consecutive defeats has come largely against top tier sides, but the manner of their capitulation against Germany in midweek, in which they conceded twice in the first seven minutes suggests that their characteristic levels of concentration and defensive resilience are on the wane.
They are a better team than the hosts, but Armenia have been putting together a tidy little undefeated run, built on a miserly defensive style, which could be enough on their own patch to frustrate an out of sorts Iceland line-up.
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