Later in the preview you will realize there are serious reasons to believe the referee will try and influence the outcome this game.
But I will start by giving the benefit of the doubt and analyzing at first the possibility of this game to be played fairly without exterior interference.
1. Analysis when football is not fixed
As of late Ukraine’s results and performances are very impressive. Much of the credit goes to coach Fomenko who disciplined and organized the team like never before.
Fomenko is also a bit lucky because this current generation of Ukraine excels in speed and determination. Especially upfront, Ukraine have fast and agile players ( Yarmolenko, Konoplyanka, Zozulya) who are also very active in the defensive phase. At 23 these guys never get tired and they represent the 1st line of resistance when opponents try to create. This is why Ukraine haven’t conceded since March.
Ever since coach Fomenko took over, Ukraine have scored 31 goals and conceded only 2… They have a winning ratio of 80%…
On the other side opponents France are struggling, even if at first sight it may not look that way. With Deschamps in charge France have a winning ration of 50%, the lowest in 30 years… They concede almost one goal per game (0.88 goals / per game) and whenever Ribery is out of form, or properly neutralized by opponents, France just can’t score.
France is just a one man team, France = Ribery. Benzema may impress at Real but he always underperforms at the National team. He just doesn’t care. Lately attacking midfielder Valbuena makes only wrong decisions (just look at Marseille’s results and his contribution).
Just as he does at Newcastle, fullback Debuchy often goes high up the field and forgets about his defensive tasks. The one who should be covering for him, defensive midfielder Pogba (Juventus) just can’t get enough of scoring (he scored again last week against Napoli). But in order to score (even if the goal comes from long range shots) you have to go up a lot and try your luck, and that is exactly what Pogba loves to do.
The right flank, with Debuchy there and Pogba pushing from the center is a major weakness for France and one that could decide the fate of the game. Direct opponent on that side will be Konoplyanka, a young and fast player, with great ball control and precise passing skills.
Like previously said, Ukraine’s offensive players will also make the defensive phase. Yarmolenko is one of them and maybe the best player in the squad. He will be directly responsible for neutralizing Ribery, task I believe he will successfully complete, if not alone with the help of a defensive midfielder.
The key battle will be Konoplyanka vs Debuchy on Ukraine’s left flank. With Debuchy’s offensive playing style this duel will be won by the Ukranian, who will find himself in excellent positions, either for scoring or for serving decisive assists.
With Ribery rendered ineffective and Debuchy outplayed, Ukraine +0.25 at the price of 1.87 is gold. But keep in mind, this bet is only for normal circumstances, when football is a clean sport and not rigged by those in power.
2. Analysis when football is fixed
Who can forget France’s last playoff against Ireland? The 1st leg was played in normal conditions but in the 2nd game a blind referee was in charge, and the incident that scandalized the entire football loving world occurred, Thiery Henry playing handball in Ireland’s penalty box and taking France to the World Cup.
Politicians pushed for justice (or at least a replay…), fans worldwide started petitions but with Fifa and Uefa being deregulated companies and states within states, and with Frenchman Platini in charge of Uefa, nothing changed and all calls for justice were disregarded as nonsense.
On a side note, France made fool of themselves at the 2010 World Cup, finishing last in their group with only 1 draw. But in a way it helped the French people, because only then people understood that players are from a different world, they are arrogant, superficial and have no respect for the “commoners”. Players boycotted training session at the World Cup only because a minor conflict between coach Domenech and “intergalactic star” Anelka… After that incident about 80% of French people have no respect anymore for the French National team.
Getting back to Ukraine – France I should mention the name of the designated referee, Cuneyt Cakir.
Turkish referee Cakir has an interesting history, especially against English clubs:
– Manchester United – Real, red card Nani
– Manchester City – Dynamo Kiev, red card Balotelli (deserved this time)
– Chelsea – Barcelona, red card Terry
– England – Ukraine, red card Gerard
– Chelsea – Corinthians , red card Cahill
The conflict between England and Fifa (and subsequently Uefa, as they are in cahoots and act like Siamese twins) is no secret anymore. It all started with England’s riot and attempt to overthrow dictator for life Sepp Blatter. The coup failed and now English clubs (and National team) have to suffer the consequences.
This is why Cuneyt Cakir is only a foot soldier with clear instructions and nothing more. If in previous games his instructions were to create obstacles for English clubs, this time the instructions will be to make sure that France have an upper hand for qualifying to the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
Platini just can’t imagine a World Cup without his beloved compatriots. Adding to that is the difference between France’s economic power and Ukraine’s (Brazil spent a lot of money on this World Cup, who do you think they’d want to qualify?)
The easiest way for a referee to change the outcome of a game is by a red card or a penalty. I already took a penalty to be scored at 4.50 at PaddyPower, but I can’t find anywhere a red card to be shown. There’s still time though.
UPDATE: Our Italian friend Luigi informed us MarathonBet offers a red card to be shown at 4.15. Great odds. Thanks Luigi