Oct 7, 181 days ago

International match preview 7 October 2016

International match preview 7 October 2016

With less than two years to go until the World Cup heads to Russia, there are 31 places up for grabs as qualification continues this weekend.
There are some mouthwatering matches to look forward in Europe including a fixture between two previous World Cup finalists. Keep reading for our preview of all the international football action.

International bet of the weekend

Since reaching the World Cup semi final in 2014, it’s been a torrid couple of years for the Netherlands national side. The Dutch failed to qualify for Euro 2016 – despite the expanded competition – and were recently beaten in a friendly by Greece.
They managed to grab a point in the first of their Group A matches in Sweden but will find it tough on Monday night as they welcome France.
In a group where just one team goes qualifies automatically, Danny Blind’s team are going to find it tough to make it to Russia. As well as France they face Sweden and Bulgaria while Belarus will be no pushovers either.
France stumbled to a goalless draw against Belarus in their opening match but showed some excellent form in the European Championships this summer. Les Bleus can capitalise on Holland’s poor form and win at 7/5.

Six points up for grabs for both England and Scotland

The end of Sam Allardyce’s short reign hasn’t been the best preparation for England but with Gareth Southgate in temporary charge the Three Lions should have no trouble winning their two matches this weekend.
They face Malta on Saturday teatime and are just 1/40 to win at Wembley. Tuesday’s match is a trickier fixture though as they head to Slovenia. Despite being ranked 67 in the world, Slovenia have punched above their weight in the last 15 years or so, reaching the World Cup in 2002 and 2010 and the European Championships in 2000.
Srevko Katanec’s side had to come back from 2-0 down in Lithuania and only an injury time Bostjan Cesar goal spared their blushes. England should win but there isn’t a lot of value at 8/13.
Of course Scotland are in the same qualifying group as England and they will need maximum points from their matches against Lithuania and Slovakia.
An excellent 5-1 win in Malta was a good start to the Scots’ campaign and I fancy their chances of beating Lithuania at 4/9. The trip to Bratislava looks like a much tougher proposition, however, and the home side – remember they beat Russia in the Euros this summer – look terrific value at evens.

The pick of the international matches

Wales twice led in Austria on Thursday evening and despite being pegged back both times they still lead Group D on goal difference. It could scarcely be closer, though, with four teams on four points including Serbia and the Republic of Ireland who beat Georgia 1-0 to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.
Both teams have vital matches on Sunday as they play the two teams yet to score a point in the group. Chris Coleman’s side are just 2/7 to see off Georgia while Ireland are 8/15 to win in Moldova
Northern Ireland continue their mission to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 as they face the easiest and toughest matches in their group. They should beat minnows San Marino on Saturday before heading off to face world champions Germany.
Just one goal separated the two sides when they met at the Parc des Prices in June but you’d have to be brave to back the Green and White Army at 16/1 on Tuesday evening.
Roberto Martinez’s competitive debut as the manager of Belgium got off to a solid start with a 3-0 win Cyprus and they are as short as 4/9 to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday and 1/50 to win in Gibraltar on Monday. Group H rivals Greece should beat Cyprus at 4/11.
Hungary showed in this summer’s European Championships that they are a solid side and so there will be many tempted by the 12/5 available on them to beat Switzerland in Budapest. Sweden should be backed at 1/4 to win in Luxembourg while European champions Portugal are 1/50 to beat Andorra.
After Japan‘s unexpected home defeat to the United Arab Emirates in the Asian qualifying competition, they have bounced back with two wins but face a tough trip to table-topping Australia on Tuesday.
The Socceroos lead their group after coming from behind to draw with Saudi Arabia on Thursday and it looks like being a close group with the UAE also performing well. Australia can take control of the group at 7/5.

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