The third and final set of European Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2022 begin on Tuesday evening when those groups which were in action on Wednesday and Saturday are back on the pitch taking a step closer to determining who heads out to the UAE next year.
That means we get to see nations such as Portugal, Croatia and the defending champion France in action for the final time in this international break, on what should be another decent evening of football across the continent.
The action kicks off in Group A where an Azerbaijan side who were buoyed by avoiding defeat to the Republic of Ireland at the weekend host a Portugal outfit who probably haven’t delivered what they should in recent World Cups and should be motivated to do that for the remainder of their time in this event. The other match sees the current group leaders Serbia looking to maintain their position at the top when they head to Dublin to take on the Republic of Ireland.
The current world champions France are the headline attraction across the two matches in Group D on Tuesday evening. They host their closest challengers Finland in Paris in a match the French can go a long way to sealing their automatic qualification in if they can find a win. Bosnia and Herzegovina will be extremely eager to win a match themselves. They host Kazakhstan on an evening where only a win will do even if that might not end up being enough.
This is another group where the top two meet in the big match on the evening on Tuesday as Denmark look to build on a fine Euro 2020 campaign and a perfect start to this qualifying competition when they host an Israel side who have bagged eight goals in their last two away games in this group. Elsewhere, it is a huge night for Scotland in Vienna where losing is not an option in their clash against Austria. The other match sees the Faroe Islands taking on Moldova in a match which only means anything to each other.
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The top two meet in this group as well on Tuesday evening when second placed Netherlands host the leaders Turkey. Norway aren’t going away in this section though and they have the chance to leapfrog the pair should their match end all-square. Norway host Gibraltar in a match they will be massive favourites to come out on top in. The other match sees a pretty ordinary Latvia side making the trip to Montenegro in a game the hosts have to win.
Russia are the team who head the way in Group H heading into the Tuesday fixtures and they will be expected to maintain their advantage when they play host to Malta. Croatia are their closest challengers and they host a Slovenia side who can be awkward to overcome on their day. You would think the road to Qatar passes through one of those two from here on in but Slovakia will aim to continue to loiter with intent when they welcome Cyprus to Bratislava.
I’ll go with just the one bet over the course of Tuesday evening and that comes from Dublin where it is hard to see any progress at all from the Republic of Ireland. They might have hit a real low at the weekend when they were held at home by Azerbaijan and the big problem they have is there just isn’t enough goals in them. They only found the net once in six matches in the Nations League last season and half of their four goals in this campaign came in the one match.
Serbia have no such problems in the scoring goals department. They might have one or two more issues keeping them out but Ireland just offer up no confidence in front of goal at all at the minute so it might be an easier night at the back for Serbia than some recently have been. Serbia have a good chance of making it through to Qatar but if that is going to remain in their own hands then this is a match they have to win. I think they will do that.
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