Scotland vs Ukraine: Preview and Prediction

Ukraine has played three friendly matches recently

Scotland will take on Ukraine in the first semi-final of the Path A of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers (UEFA). This match will be played at Glasgow’s Hampden Park on Wednesday, 1st June, and the winner will play in the final game of the path against Wales.

Scotland finished second in their initial group stage campaign. They won seven of their ten matches and accumulated 23 points in the process. However, Denmark topped their group with 27 points to their name, sending Steve Clarke’s team to the playoffs round.

On the other hand, Ukraine might consider themselves lucky to make it this far in the qualifying round. While France was undoubtedly the best team in their group, the Blue and Yellow did well to finish second with 12 points – just one point clear of third-placed Finland.

Current Form

Scotland will come into this match with momentum on their side. Clarke’s team drew their last two friendlies, with the scoreline being 2-2 against Austria and 1-1 against Poland. Meanwhile, they won six matches on the trot before these two games.

All of those wins came in the World Cup qualification campaign itself, wherein the boys in blue defeated Moldova twice and got the better of Austria, Israel, Faroe Islands and Denmark on one occasion each. Scotland kept five clean sheets in these six matches and also scored ten goals.

Like their opposition, Ukraine will also be a fairly confident outfit coming into this fixture. Before coming into this all-important encounter, they played three friendlies in a span of a week. Among these games, Andriy Shevchenko’s boys defeated Borussia Monchengladbach and Empoli, but were held to a 1-1 stalemate by HNK Rijeka.

As for their competitive outings, Ukraine is unbeaten in their last five World Cup qualification matches. They got one win against Finland, one victory and a draw against Bosnia and Herzegovina and stalemates against Kazakhstan and France. 

Head to Head Record

Scotland and Ukraine have crossed paths only twice previously – back in 2006 and 2007. The first match ended 2-0 in Ukraine’s favour but the last outing saw Scotland registering a 3-1 victory, courtesy of goals from Kenny Miller, Lee McCulloch and James McFadden, whilst current manager Shevchenko was on target for the Blue and Yellow.

Team News

Oleksandr Zinchenko and Andrew Robertson will play crucial roles for their respective teams

Oleksandr Zinchenko and Andrew Robertson will play crucial roles for their respective teams

Scotland will miss two of their key players owing to injuries in this fixture. Rangers’ midfielder Ryan Jack and Arsenal’s left-back Kieran Tierney have been left out of the squad, as they will not be able to recover in time for the game.

Clarke is expected to set his team up in a 3-4-1-2 formation. With David Marshall in goal, Jack Hendry, Grant Hanley and John Souttar are likely to comprise the three-man defensive core. Stephen O’Donnell and Andrew Robertson are expected to play as wingbacks, with Scott McTominay and Callum McGregor positioned in the middle of the park. Stuart Armstrong and John McGinn are expected to play as number 10s, with Che Adams being the lone man upfront.

As for Ukraine, Shevchenko can consider himself lucky as he will have a full-strength squad to pick his starting XI from, with not a single player nursing injuries. They are likely to be set up in an attacking 4-3-3 set-up.

Oleksandr Karavayev, Ilya Zabarnyi, Mykola Matviyenko and Vitaliy Mykolenko are expected to comprise the backline, with Andriy Pyatov being the last line of defense. Ruslan Malinovskyi, Taras Stepanenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko will be entrusted with the task of controlling the tempo in the middle, operating behind the front three of Andriy Yarmolenko, Roman Yaremchuk and Viktor Tsyhankov.

Predicted Starting Lineups

Scotland (3-4-1-2): David Marshall; Jack Hendry, Grant Hanley, John Souttar; Stephen O’Donnell, Scott McTominay, Callum McGregor, Andrew Robertson; Stuart Armstrong, John McGinn; Che Adams.

Ukraine (4-3-3): Andriy Pyatov; Oleksandr Karavayev, Illya Zabarnyi, Mykola Matviyenko, Vitaliy Mykolenko; Ruslan Malinovskyi, Taras Stepanenko, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Andriy Yarmolenko, Roman Yaremchuk, Viktor Tsyhankov.


Though there is not much to separate these two teams on the basis of current form, a few factors will work in Ukraine’s favour. Firstly, they will not need to work on team combination, having played three matches recently. They also are higher than Scotland in the FIFA Men’s team rankings, while to top it all off, the current turmoil back at home might galvanize the Ukrainian players to give it their all in this fixture. Hence, we have predicted a 2-1 triumph for Shevchenko’s team.