Spain, who have qualified for the Euro championships 2016, are set to play their final match of the qualifying campaign against Ukraine at NSK Olimpiyskyi in Kyiv on Monday with the home team having a chance of making it to the mega event as an automatic qualifier as well.
Unfortunately, even if Ukraine defeat Group C table toppers Spain, they have to rely on other results as well. If Slovakia, who meet Luxembourg on Monday, emerge victorious, Ukraine finish third irrespective of the result and hence head into the playoff stage.
Ukraine are currently tied with Slovakia on 19 points in Group C, but lie on the third place as the latter have a better head-to-head record in the competition. Slovakia defeated Ukraine 1-0 in Kyiv last year, while they drew 0-0 in September.
It is a huge task for the home team to defeat Spain, who are going to face one of the best teams in the world. They have only lost once in the qualifying campaign. Spain are set to miss their two key players, Alvaro Morata and David Silva, who suffered injuries against Luxembourg in their last match.
With Spain having already qualified, they might rest some of their players as well and include some debutants such as Mario Gaspar (Villarreal) and Xabier Etxeita (Athletic Bilbao). Irrespective of the team, which the national team coach, Vicente del Bosque, picks for their last game, they are not going to make things any easier for Ukraine as the visitors have a strong bench strength.
Spain are expected to play some brilliant and entertaining football and amaze the crowd with their tiki-taka style. Mykhailo Fomenko, Ukraine coach, feels Spain will play free football as they have nothing to lose.
''The Spaniards will play freely and safely. They have nothing to lose because they already have their ticket to the European Championship. The level of the Spanish national team is very high,'' ESPN quoted Fomenko as saying.
Ukraine players have to step up their game as they will miss the services of midfielder Serhiy Sydorchuk and centre-back Yevhen Khacheridi, who have been important players for Fomenko. However, they are going to rely mainly on their world-class offensive players such as Yevhen Konoplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko.
One can expect a hearty performance from the home team against Spain and even if they lose, they will have another major chance of making it to Euros via playoffs as they are sure to finish third at the least.
When the two teams last met in March, Ukraine might have lost the game 1-0, but they put pressure on the home team. A similar performance this time around with the Euros qualification at stake, the home crowd could play an important role as the twelfth man and help the team emerge victorious.
Where to watch live
The Ukraine vs Spain Euro 2016 Qualifier match is scheduled for a 7.45pm local time (12.15am IST, 2.45pm ET) start with live TV coverage in India on Sony Kix and live streaming on Livsports.
Viewers in the UK can enjoy the live coverage of Ukraine vs Spain Euro 2016 Qualifiers live on Sky Sports1/HD and can watch it online on Sky Go.
US viewers can catch Ukraine vs Spain Euro 2016 Qualifier match live on ESPN with live streaming on Watch ESPN.
Ukraine and Spain viewers can watch the game live on Kanal 5 Ukrania and TVE La 1 respectively.