It is the penultimate night of Euro 2020 qualifying action in the current international break on Monday evening, and it is quite a busy period of play as four groups play out their sixth matchday across the continent.
Big names have graced our presence throughout the week and on Monday the likes of the Nations League finalists Netherlands, World Cup finalists Croatia and the former world champions Germany will headline a strong card.
It is a big night for Northern Ireland in Group C. Michael O’Neill’s men go into the evening on top of the pile but only courtesy of a soft schedule. Now it gets tougher for them as they entertain Germany in Belfast needing a result to stay in front in the section. One reason for that is because the Netherlands are in action in the other game in the group. They travel to Estonia in a match they will be expected to win quite comfortably.
This is the section where the World Cup finalists Croatia are in something of a battle to make it through to the main draw of Euro 2020. Wales will have an eye on the action as they sit in third in this group but don’t play on Monday. Croatia do though and they will be expected to see off Azerbaijan when they travel there. Leaders Hungary play host to an up and down Slovakia in the other match on show on Monday night.
Poland lead the way in Group G but they face a real tough contest with Austria in what might just be the match of the night across all the games. Israel slipped up on Friday night and so they will need to get back to winning ways when they make the trip to Slovenia, who are also very much in the qualification mix while the other game sees the bottom two doing battle in Riga where Latvia host a North Macedonia side who could get themselves deep into contention if they pick up the win they will be expected to do.
As you would expect Belgium are cruising this group and they can move a step closer to the finals when they head to Hampden Park to take on a Scotland outfit whose hopes are already heading to the play-offs are a campaign to forget thus far. Russia are at home on Monday night when they face a Kazakhstan side who have been more competitive than expected, albeit their better results come in their home surroundings. The two minnows also meet as San Marino host Cyprus in a match both might think they have a chance in.
I’ll go with three bets over the course of the evening. I’ll begin at Hampden Park where Belgium should have too much for Scotland even without Eden Hazard. The likes of Kevin de Bruyne and Youri Tielemans can provide the supply line against a Scotland side who have struggled throughout this competition. Scotland’s best positions are cancelled out by Belgium. The left-back area runs into Belgium’s excellent right side and while Scotland have a couple of good midfielders they are a level or two below their opponents. Belgium have been excellent in this qualifying campaign and I expect them to win this by a couple of goals at the very least.
In the same group I fancy Russia will have a cosy win against a Kazakhstan side reeling from not being Cyprus on Friday night. Kazakhstan don’t travel too well at the best of times and with Russia very much cruising towards the finals I see this as a comfortable home win. Russia lost their opening match against Belgium but have won their last four matches since then, including a 4-0 win in Kazakhstan. It is that sort of score that I expect them to win this one by so I’ll take them to cover the -2 Asian line.
Latvia look absolutely gone at the game at the minute and I fancy a competitive North Macedonia outfit to take advantage of that in Riga. The visitors have the safety net of a play-off berth to fall back on should they need it but they are deep in the mix of qualifying automatically assuming they win this match. Latvia have lost every game in the group so far, scoring just once and shipping 19 in the process including 11 in their last two outings. Macedonia won 3-1 in the reverse meeting and I expect them to win this so backing them on the -1 Asian line looks a great bet to nothing.
WON – Back Belgium (-1.25AH) to beat Scotland for a 4/10 stake at 1.86 with BetVictor
Back Russia (-2AH) to beat Kazakhstan for a 4/10 stake at 1.95 with BetVictor
WON – Back North Macedonia (-1AH) to beat Latvia for a 5/10 stake at 1.98 with BetVictor