The current international break comes to an end this week as the last leg of the FIFA World Cup 2022 European Qualifiers takes place on Wednesday evening, the final night for those groups who were in action on Thursday and Sunday to pick up more points for their cause.
This set of action means we get to see the likes of England, Italy, Belgium and Germany once again on a night which should contain plenty of high quality and competitive football as we move into the second half of the qualifying campaign for Qatar.
Spain have assumed top spot back from Sweden in Group B but the Swedes have a couple of matches in hand of them so Luis Enrique’s men have to keep on winning if they are to automatically qualify for the World Cup. That will be their primary aim when they make the trip to Kosovo on Wednesday. Any slip up will allow Sweden to move back above them in the table when they head to Athens to take on a Greek side who are the pillar of inconsistency.
Despite not winning either of their two matches in this international break, Italy are still in control of Group C of the competition. They will be expected to continue that dominance when they play hosts to lowly Lithuania who were taken to the cleaners by Northern Ireland at the weekend. That result got Northern Ireland interested in a play-off spot once again and they will move themselves into second place in the table if they can find a win when Switzerland come to Windsor Park on Wednesday evening.
It doesn’t look like anyone is going to get close to Belgium in Group E and they will be expected to take a step closer to securing their spot in Qatar when they head to Belarus on Wednesday evening. The competitive nature of this group is the race for second spot and although Wales are likely to be in the play-offs courtesy of their Nations League display, they will be expected to move into second spot when they welcome Estonia to Cardiff.
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There aren’t many groups on Wednesday evening where the top two in the table meet but Group I is one of them and it is a match Poland in second place simply have to win if they are to keep their automatic qualifying hopes alive. They host an England team who have five wins from five and who would be eight points clear of Poland with four matches left if they leave Warsaw victorious. Albania have moved their way into third spot and if Poland don’t beat England they will be able to move into second with a win over San Marino. It has been a week to forget for Hungary so far but they will be looking to get back on track when they entertain Andorra.
There is one early kick off over the course of Wednesday evening and it comes in Group J where Armenia welcome Liechtenstein in what was meant to be a battle of the minnows in the group but actually an Armenian win will move them top of the table for a few hours. Germany will have the chance to replace them once again but they face a potentially awkward trip to Iceland. The other match in the group sees North Macedonia taking on Romania in a big match for both sides.
I’ll go with a couple of bets over the course of the evening, the first of which sees me liking over 2.5 goals in the Wales against Estonia match. This is a match Wales have to win but I don’t think the emphasis will just be on winning here. I say that because it is highly likely that a two-horse race is going to develop between themselves and the Czech Republic for second spot and in any league table match having goal difference on your side is a big thing. Wales only have a level goal difference which is inferior to that of the Czechs. They have also just conceded twice to a pretty average Belarus side. Estonia are a poor side who look to be getting worse, especially at the back. They have shipped 15 goals in their three matches so far and Belgium only accounted for five of them. They did score twice in that match though, as they did against the Czechs in a 6-2 defeat so there is a goal threat against a Wales defence missing a few men for various reasons. That threat gives me confidence in an over which Wales can cover themselves if Bale is on it.
The other bet I like is for Sweden to beat Greece with the requisite draw cover in place. That draw cover might well be needed because Greece have drawn all three matches but they are not convincing in those games. The draw against Spain looks good but they were outplayed in that match. Subsequent stalemates against Kosovo and Georgia don’t carry as much weight and now they take on a mighty good Sweden side who are coming into this tournament off the back of a solid Euro 2020 campaign and who are generally a very good qualifying team. They only lost one match in Euro 2020 qualifying in a group which contained Spain, the side who beat them, and dangerous challenges in Norway and Romania, and currently hold a perfect record in this campaign. If there is a winner in Athens I expect it to be a progressive Sweden rather than a plateaued Greece.
Back Wales vs Estonia – Over 2.5 goals for a 3/10 stake at 1.75 with Betfair
Back it here:
Back Sweden (-0.25AH) to beat Greece for a 3/10 stake at 1.98 with Bet365