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Spread betting preview: Ukraine/ England

World Cup Qualifier, Saturday, 5.15pm, bet here

Ukraine/ England

You may not have much luck watching England’s World Cup Qualifier on Saturday, but our friends at Sporting Index would like to help you make some money from it…

Save for last-minute injuries, Fabio Capello is expected to field a full-strength side against Ukraine, giving spread bettors and armchair fans – not to mention Croatia manager Slaven Bilic – the hope of seeing a competitive game in England’s penultimate World Cup Qualifier. Although effectively a dead-rubber for the visitors, the partisan home following will ensure a lively encounter at the 31,000-capacity Dnipro Arena, in the country’s third-largest city, Dnipropetrovsk. The newly built stadium may not have the tradition of Ukraine’s regular home, the Olympic Stadium in Kiev – which fits over 80,000 and is currently being renovated to host the 2012 European Championships final – but it is sure to provide an intimidating atmosphere for the Three Lions’ first trip to the country, and a new challenge for Sporting Index’s football spread punters.

Buyers of England’s win index spread will know these sides have met three times since Ukraine’s independence in 1991 – in friendlies at Wembley in 2000 and St James’ Park in 2004, and in the reverse Group 6 qualifier back in April – and that England have won each encounter. One man from either side has played in the previous three fixtures, Steven Gerrard for England and Andriy Shevchenko for Ukraine, and both men are likely to be uppermost in spread bettors’ minds. Liverpool captain Gerrard has netted 16 times for his country and, while sellers of his goal minutes spread will note none have come against the eastern Europeans in his three starts against them, buyers of his individual player performance spread will remember the brace he netted last time out against the Croats.

Sporting Index traders were first introduced to Shevchenko as a speedy striker with Dynamo Kiev. He would become one of the continent’s most feared marksmen in the early days of the Champions League, before a move to AC Milan brought continued individual and team success with the Italians. He’s since lost more than half a yard of pace and may not be too fondly remembered in Blighty after his unsuccessful stint at Chelsea. However, while spread buyers of his goal minutes might recall his miserly return for the Blues, they also will remember he’s the only Ukrainian to ever score against England and is his nation’s most capped player, leading scorer and captain. Having gone full circle, he’s now back at Dynamo and still playing in Europe’s premier club competition. He’ll be hoping to prove his detractors wrong and defy spread sellers of his country’s goal minutes by adding to the one he scored in the fixture six months ago.

With England already South Africa-bound, Ukraine are hoping to pip Croatia to the runners-up spot, but spread buyers of England’s supremacy will be pleased to know that Capello regulars such as John Terry, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Gerrard are all, injury permitting, among those expected to be on the plane to Ukraine. Manchester United star Rooney has been in prolific form for his country of late, and will be a leading Golden Boot contender at the World Cup. Spread buyers of the game’s total goals, as well as his individual goal minutes, will hope he shows the sort of potency he did in previous qualifiers against Belarus and Andorra where he poached two in each game.

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