The penultimate round of World Cup qualifiers draws to a close in Europe on Saturday night but once again for a host of nations it promises to be a big night with automatic qualification spots and play-off places up for grabs.
The three groups in action contain some real quality and two of them are very tight at the top so we are set for a fascinating, nervy and dramatic evening of football to follow the two that have preceded it.
Sweden get the early chance to pile the pressure on the other sides in their group when they host Luxembourg in the early kick off. A win would take them top of the group until France have been to Bulgaria later in the evening. If Sweden win and the Netherlands pick up maximum points in Belarus then the Swedes will be guaranteed a play-off spot and the Dutch will fail to qualify completely.
It is all about two sides in Group B but before they are in action the Faroe Islands will look to continue their improvement when they host Latvia. It is saying something about those two nations right now that the Faroes are favourites with the bookies to win. The two sides battling it out at the top are Switzerland and Portugal. Switzerland are three points ahead of Portugal and they meet in the group finale on Tuesday night. Before then Portugal must get a win in Andorra while Switzerland host Hungary.
Belgium have already qualified for the tournament in Russia but that does not mean they can ease off when they go to Bosnia-Herzegovina in the early kick off. They need to keep getting results for seeding purposes in Russia. Bosnia must win to stave off the Greeks in the push for the play-off spot. If Bosnia do slip up then Greece will look to take advantage when they go to arch-rivals Cyprus while the other match sees Estonia visiting Gibraltar.
I like two bets across this card. When Belgium first met Bosnia-Herzegovina in Group H they won 4-0 and while I don’t expect them to be as dominant away from home I do still think they will win. This is a Bosnia outfit who two games ago were losing to Cyprus in a truly remarkable result. Belgium are through and they have some injuries but they still have plenty of standout players who might see this as a chance to stake their claim ahead of next summer. We get plenty of draw cover here so Belgium look a good bet to beat a side who are a couple of class levels below them at the very least.
Switzerland have had a near perfect run in this qualifying campaign. They have won all eight matches and in the last five they have not conceded a goal. They now host a Hungary side who are yet to pick up a point in the group to anyone other than the Faroes, Latvia or Andorra and indeed they have lost to Andorra in this campaign too. That certainly doesn’t bode well. We have to be wary of Switzerland not pushing themselves later on in this match with the Portugal game a massive one on Tuesday but I think they will win and the evidence suggests they can do so without scoring given that Hungary couldn’t score against Andorra in that defeat.
WON – Back Belgium (0AH) to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365
Back them here:
Back Switzerland to win to nil for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Betbright
Back them here: