The top two sides in Group A of the Euro 2020 qualifiers battle it out for control on Friday night. England came out on top as 5-0 winners in the meeting at Wembley in March, but this time around I’m expecting a much closer encounter with the hosts performing much stronger and better at home – only loosing six of their last 20 games when having home advantage.
This game looks great for goals with the Three Lions averaging a staggering combined 5.75 goals per game so far in the qualifying group whilst the Czech Republic are averaging a high 3.4 – both figures are comfortably above the 2.5 mark. Both sides have only failed to score a goal in four of their last 20 matches in all competitions and the bet looks really good value.
Russia host Scotland knowing that a win could cement their qualification with three games to spare (results pending elsewhere). They’re on a fine run of form as well having won five Euro 2020 qualifiers in a row scoring a staggering 17 goals in that period and are unbeaten at home in all five competitive games they have played at the Luzhniki Stadium since the end of the 2018 World Cup, winning four and drawing once.
Scotland meanwhile will need a miracle to qualify – with four games remaining they’re nine points away from Russia who are in 2nd place. Even if they do somehow find a win, they will need to go on and win all their remaining three games and hope Russia lose all of theirs whilst also battling off Crypus and Kazakhstan who are both currently one point above them, so it literally is mission impossible for Steve Clark’s side. They’re all but playing for pride here and I expect them to struggle against a dynamic Russian attack, especially after a five hour flight to Moscow.
Northern Ireland enjoyed a great start to their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with four wins in a row – that great run of form saw them go top of the group until the last round of fixtures. They done the job they needed to do in those four fixtures, however they were all against the groups poorer sides Belarus and Estonia home and away.
Their campaign now ends with tough home and away games against giants Germany and Holland. They lost 2-0 to Germany last time out which saw them get knocked off top spot and now they must play the Dutch twice before a visit to Germany. Holland have one game in hand over Northern Ireland and if they were to win on Thursday night, they could leapfrog both Germany and Northern Ireland depending upon goal difference.
Northern Ireland are unlikely to have much joy against a superb Dutch side who bolster world class talent in the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie De Jong. That strong central defensive partnership worth over £140m makes a win to nil look appealing and good value.
Turkey have won all of their last five games at home in all contests, including that stunning 2-0 win over World Cup winners France and they now host Albania who are struggling on the road lately, losing four of their last five away games.
Turkey have took the maximum nine points in three games at home in qualifying so far and will be desperate for a win to keep control of the group over France and Iceland who are breathing down their necks. It was Turkey who took all three points when the two sides met in March and they will be looking to do it again this time around with the stakes a lot higher. Cenk Tosun, who is Turkey’s top goal scorer in the competition has been named in the squad and he will be looking to continue his international form.