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Oleg Blokhin's side will be eager to grab a win with the European Championship just around the corner and Willie Duncan expects them to beat Marcel Koller's men on Friday night

There has been much focus on off-field issues this week as the build-up to Euro 2012 continues. Friday’s friendly match with Austria will provide co-hosts Ukraine with an excellent opportunity to return the focus to football.

Ukraine swept to a straightforward 4-0 victory over Estonia on Monday night but the trip to face Marcel Koller’s men will provide a much stiffer test for Oleg Blokhin’s side.

The Austrias may have co-hosted the last European Championships with Switzerland in 2008 but they will sit out of this tournament after finishing a disappointing fourth in their qualification group behind Germany, Turkey and Belgium.

Nevertheless, Koller’s side will start Friday’s match as narrow favourites for victory with Bet365 making them a 6/4 (2.50) shot, with Ukraine chalked up at 8/5 (2.60) to record a confidence-boosting win ahead of Euro 2012.

A tight match is anticipated and the 9/4 (3.25) for the match to end all square will tempt many punters here.

Blokhin’s side will come into this match full of confidence having won five of their last six matches with a respectable 3-3 draw with Germany completing that sequence of results.

Austria’s form, on the other hand, has been far less convincing having won just two of their last six matches.

Ukraine, too, will be determined to fire a warning shot to Euro 2012 Group D rivals Sweden, France and England and are chalked up at a chunky 9/1 (10.0) with Bet365 to win 2-1 on Friday.

The 5/1 (6.0) odds for the match to be level at half time with Ukraine prevailing in the second half looks to represent excellent value.

There seems to be little to separate the sides on paper but the question of motivation must be considered when betting on this match and - with Euro 2012 just around the corner - the tournament's co-hosts should undoubtedly be the hungrier of the two sides.

With that in mind, 8/5 (2.60) for a Ukraine victory is recommended here as is the value play of draw/Ukraine in the half time/full time market at an easily-backed 5/1 (6.0) with the same firm.


BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Ukraine to beat Austria at 8/5 (2.60) with Bet365
Draw at half time/Ukraine win at full-time at 5/1 (6.0) with Bet365

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter here.

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