We’ve got five selections from Friday’s World Cup qualifiers.
1)Estonia vs Belarus over 2.5 goals.
These teams are languishing at the foot of Group E but have both been involved in some cracking contests so far, including when Belarus beat Estonia 4-2 in Minsk back in March.
On home turf, Estonia have conceded 11 times in predictable losses to Belgium and Czech Republic, but they did score twice in each of those matches themselves. Belarus were only edged out 3-2 in another thriller versus Wales last month and we’re hoping both sides will go for it in Tallinn.
2)Czech Republic to beat Wales.
The hosts created a good impression at Euro 2020 when beating Scotland in Glasgow, drawing with Croatia and only losing narrowly to England in their pool.
Netherlands were then beaten 2-0 at the last-16 stage before a 2-1 loss to an inspired Denmark side in the quarter-finals. Patrik Schick was the star of that tournament with five goals and the striker has been in superb form for new club Bayer Leverkusen. Czech Republic can see off a Wales side missing talismanic front man Gareth Bale.
3)Turkey vs Norway both teams to score.
This could prove a pivotal contest in Group G, with these teams challenging Netherlands at the top of the table. Turkey’s home games have been great to watch, with Holland beaten 4-2 in Istanbul prior to a 3-3 draw with Latvia and a 2-2 stalemate against Montenegro.
Norway have recovered well from an early 3-0 loss in the reverse fixture, posting three wins and a 1-1 draw with the Dutch. Erling Haaland’s injury is a blow but there are still attacking players, such as Martin Odegaard and Mohamed Elyounoussi in midfield.
4)Slovenia to win in Malta
Only three points separate these sides in Group H but Slovenia are a whopping 112 places higher up in the FIFA rankings.
Matjaz Kek knows only a victory here will be enough to keep his team in contention to push Croatia and Russia for a top-two finish and will be hoping Atletico Madrid keeper Jan Oblak and Atalanta ace Josip Ilicic can help them prove a class apart. Malta are improving but are expected to find this a tough test in our European football tips.
5)Russia to beat Slovakia
Valeri Karpin got off to a good start as Russia boss last month, drawing with Croatia before wins over Cyprus and Malta, with clean sheets kept in all three matches. Russia will now be gunning for revenge against Slovakia after going down 2-1 in Trnava back in March under the previous regime.
Slovakia are a spirited bunch and mercurial captain Marek Hamsik can always pull off something special, but they do tend to come up short when facing higher-rated opposition.
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