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Ukraine too big a price to ignore against hapless France

| 19.11.2013
SPORTSBOOK ODDS

Having won eight and drawn two of their last 10 games, Group H runners-up Ukraine are wildly overpriced to beat an insouciant French side on their own patch.

France cannot be backed for victory with any confidence at 4/9 and the Yellow-Blue can confirm superiority over their hosts by sneaking this 2014 World Cup play-off second leg.

Ukraine to win @ 13/2

Les Bleus were soundly beaten in Kiev and Didier Deschamps’ undoubtedly talented side have now managed to win just five times in their last 14 matches.

A starting XI that included in-form strikers Loic Remy and Olivier Giroud, plus even-money Ballon d’Or favourite Franck Ribery, could not break down an improving Ukraine outfit that have now gone 10 games without defeat.

Deschamps will be forced into attacking the visitors from the off in Paris and Mykhaylo Fomenko’s charges will be alert to gaps that are sure to appear in front of a French defence shorn of suspended Arsenal centre-half Laurent Koscielny, who was sent off in the first leg.

French sports daily L’Equipe conducted a poll after the match and 60 per cent of respondents believed France had blown their chances of booking a place in Brazil next summer.

The Stade de France faithful are not famed for their forgiving nature and Ukraine can capitalise on their hosts current malaise with another win.

Andrey Yarmolenko to score at any time @ 11/4

The Dinamo Kiev forward has been on fire for his country since Fomenko took over the Ukraine reins at the end of 2012, scoring four of his five 2014 World Cup qualifying Group H goals during the 65-year-old’s watch.

Yarmolenko struck first home and away against Poland, grabbed the opener in the 2-1 home win against Moldova back in March and helped himself to Ukraine’s fifth in the 8-0 away win against San Marino.

His 82nd-minute penalty in Kiev was the 24-year-old’s 15th goal in 23 appearances for club and country this season and was scored in front of the watchful eyes of representatives from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Yarmolenko finds himself firmly in the shop window again here and can reward viewers by gunning down what is sure to be a gung-ho Les Bleus line-up.

Under 2.5 goals in the match @ 8/11

Eight and nine-nil thumpings of San Marino aside, Ukraine’s matches since the start of this season have been tight affairs, with four of their last six ties producing two goals or less.

France won three on the spin before failing in Kiev and managed 13 goals in those fixtures on their own, but Fomenko’s outfit are far superior to Finland, Belarus and Australia.

Against the top sides, Deschamps’ men have struggled to impose themselves and drew blanks in five consecutive games against Spain, Uruguay, Brazil, Belgium and even Georgia between March and September.

Giroud scored his last competitive goal for France against Georgia in the spring and Remy failed to get off the mark in his two Group I appearances.

Ukraine will defend their lead with gusto in Paris and can frustrate the life out of the French once more.

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