Spain Under-21s and Ukraine Under-21s will go head-to-head for first position in Group B on Tuesday, with both sides already booking their spot in the quarter-finals of the European Under-21 Championship.
Boasting a superior goal difference, Spain top the section ahead of second-placed Ukraine, and a draw would be enough for Santi Denia’s side to secure their progression as group winners.
Spain secured their position in the quarter-finals of this competition courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Croatia on Saturday, with Abel Ruiz netting the only goal of the contest inside the first minute.
La Rojita recorded a 3-0 win over Romania Under-21s in their competition opener, meanwhile, and a total of six points, four goals scored and zero conceded has left them at the top of the section.
Denia’s team would finish first in Group B if they avoid defeat on Tuesday, which would see them take on the runners-up in Group D in the final eight, which could be Switzerland, France, Norway or Italy.
Spain have a rich history in this competition, lifting the trophy on five occasions, with their last success coming in 2019, but they were knocked out in the semi-finals in 2021.
Boasting arguably the strongest squad at the tournament, Denia’s side will take some stopping when it comes to the crown, and they will be determined to secure first position in the group on Tuesday.
Ukraine, meanwhile, booked their position in the quarter-finals courtesy of a 1-0 success over Romania on Saturday, with an own goal from Victor Dican in the final exchanges securing the victory.
Ruslan Rotan’s side opened their tournament with an impressive 2-0 win over Croatia, meanwhile, and they have now been victorious in three of their last four matches in all competitions.
Ukraine actually finished as runners-up at the 2006 edition of this tournament, reaching the final before losing to Netherlands Under-21s, but they have found it difficult to make an impression since.
Indeed, the national side failed to qualify for the 2007 and 2009 competitions before being eliminated in the group stage in 2011, and they were then absent in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021, so their spot in the quarter-finals with a match to spare represents an excellent performance.
Spain Under-21s European Under-21 Championship form:
Ukraine Under-21s European Under-21 Championship form:
We say: Spain Under-21s 2-1 Ukraine Under-21s
This has all of the makings of a very interesting match, and we are expecting an entertaining fixture on Tuesday evening. Both sides will be determined to secure first position in the group, and Ukraine are certainly capable of securing the win, but we just have a feeling that Spain’s quality will allow them to edge a close game.