After two dramatic UEFA Nations League semi-finals, the focus switches back to the Euro 2020 qualifiers on Friday night when the third set of fixtures in the competition take place around the continent.
Usually these games are spread over three nights but with the Nations League final on Sunday they are condensed into two this time around. That gives us a really good card to get stuck into and to enjoy.
If England have half an eye on their upcoming clash with Switzerland on Sunday they might have the other half of it on the matches in this group as it is the one they are competing in. Two matches take place in it with the Czech Republic taking on Bulgaria in what looks the better game of the two on paper. Montenegro will look to bounce back from their drubbing by Gareth Southgate’s men when they entertain Kosovo in the other one.
We only have two matches in Group B on Friday night but among them is one of the biggest clashes in this set of fixtures as Ukraine host Serbia with both sides holding strong ambitions on qualifying for the European Championship next summer. The other match sees Lithuania looking to hold off the improving force of Luxembourg in a game the home side know they have to win if they are going to be competitive in the group.
This is another group with only two matches in it in this round of games and there is actually an early kick off which gets the action underway on the evening. That comes in the form of Georgia taking on Gibraltar in a match they know they have to win but the bigger attraction on the evening will be the match featuring Denmark and the Republic of Ireland who clash in a repeat of their World Cup play-off match of a couple of years ago.
We are into the groups with three matches on the night now and the majority of the attention will be on Spain as ever. They head to the Faroe Islands needing a convincing performance but whether this is the time of the season to get it time will tell. Sweden host Malta is one of the other two matches while the most competitive game of the evening in this section sees Norway hosting Romania.
One of the more competitive groups of the qualifying competition is Group G and we have three matches in it on Friday night. Austria host Slovenia in what might be the toughest to call while elsewhere North Macedonia play host to Poland and Israel make the trip to Latvia knowing they will be losing ground to the field if they don’t pick up all three points in the contest.
I like three bets over the course of the night on Friday. I’ll begin with the Republic of Ireland match where they might have changed manager but they don’t look any better for it. They couldn’t have been any more laboured in wins over Georgia and Gibraltar if they tried in the first week of matches and they now go to Denmark, who while far from being spectacular have enough quality to expose Ireland. I don’t expect a landslide win for the Danes here but I do see them winning. If Ireland are only finding the net once against Gibraltar and Georgia it is hard to see them finding the net here, certainly not regularly anyway, Denmark aren’t free scoring so the 10/11 on the home side to win but there being less than 3.5 goals looks the way forward to me.
I think the same bet could be a goer in the Faroe Islands and Spain game where Spain will surely win but how fluent they are at this stage of the season and much they want to put their foot on the gas remains to be seen. They only scored two in Malta in their last match and I would argue that the Faroes are no worse than them these days. I don’t see this being a match the Faroes will be looking to get anything out of so the bus should be well and truly parked so while I expect Spain to win the game, I’m less convinced they’ll win it by a sizeable margin. Spain and under 3.5 goals looks value to me.
Kosovo have shown good signs in the last 12-18 months or so and I fancy they will continue that good form in Montenegro where the home side are playing behind closed doors after the racist incidents when England were there earlier in the year. Montenegro looked pretty ordinary that night and there is no Stefan Savic or Stevan Jovetic for the home side in this match which really doesn’t leave a lot, certainly in attacking areas. Kosovo are undefeated this season and they have enough in their ranks to get some kind of result here too.
Back Denmark to win and under 3.5 goals for a 4/10 stake at 1.95 with Boylesports
Back them here:
Back Spain to win and under 3.5 goals for a 3/10 stake at 2.38 with Betfred
Back them here:
HALF WON – Back Kosovo (+0.25AH) to beat Montenegro for a 4/10 stake at 1.85 with BetVictor