World Cup Qualifying: 10th Oct 2017

As we begin the new football season, all focus on the international football is squarely on the qualification of the teams towards the World Cup 2018 in Russia. The qualifying campaign is expected to finish by November 2017, and we will have a full host of qualifying games until then to decide who makes it to the finals.

World Cup Qualifying – Europe
Portugal v Switzerland – Both to Score @ 2.00 (Bet365) – 3 points
Portugal v Switzerland – Over 10.5 Corners @ 1.88 (Bet365) – 3 points

Portugal have only one blemish on their record this campaign and that is the inability to secure a victory against Switzerland where they lost 2-0 to their rivals. Portugal have since gone on a tear in this group; scoring an average of over 3 goals per game and dominated against all opponents. The top scorers for them have been Silva and Ronaldo; both of whom are fresh and ready to battle on to score more goals for their team in order to deliver the direct route to Russia next year. Portugal for their part have been improving as a playing nation over the past 3 years winning the Euros followed by a 3rd place finish in this year’s Confederations cup.

Switzerland’s record have been unblemished and are only equaled by Germany from all the nations in the world for the qualification campaign. The Swiss will be looking to maintain that record as they aim to participate in another World Cup and after such a dominant campaign; would like to qualify via the direct route. The good part about their form is that a lot of players from the team have contributed to the goals, not leaving them to rely on a single person. The likes of Seferovic, Lichsteiner, Mehmedi, Rodriguez, Zuber and Xhaka have contributed to 15 out of the 23 goals that they have netted so far.

This game promises another exciting encounter, much like it was when these 2 sides met back at the start of the campaign that too without Ronaldo in action. I am backing both teams to find the back of the net in this critical tie between 2 teams, aiming for a victory to qualify for the World Cup.

World Cup Qualifying – Europe
Holland v Sweden – Over 2.5 goals & both to score @ 1.80 (Bet365) – 3 points

Holland have a near improbably job to face their rivals Sweden for 2nd spot in the table, and while they need to win by a 7 goal margin which is difficult; they will still give it a go in front of their home fans to at least get them on-side in future preparation for Euro 2020. Holland’s qualification has improved this year after their loss to Bulgaria where they have now won 3 out of their next 4 games scoring 11 goals in the bargain. A lot of reliance will go on their forwards to bring them the goal scoring form with the likes of Robben, Depay, Prommes and Janssen to battle it out for them to score goals. Defensively is where Netherlands have struggled conceding in 8 out of the 9 games played so far this campaign.

Sweden are in the commanding position and for each goal they score, Holland have to put more past them in addition to the 7 goals that they need as a minimum.  Sweden have been good generally in the campaign but have 2 away losses to their record against France and Bulgaria. They put in a class performance against France at home and will be aiming for a similar kind of performance against Holland tonight. The likes of Marcus Berg (8 goals), Emile Forsberg, Toivonen, Lustig and Graqvist have been in the goals for them and will need to continue putting on a strong show in tonight’s encounter. If you take the top teams of the group; France, Netherlands and Bulgaria, they have only kept one clean sheet against Bulgaria out of the 5 games they have played.

This promises to be an exciting tie, no matter which way you look, goals are coming and we hope as neutrals to see an exciting encounter.

World Cup Qualifying – Europe
France v Belarus – Over 3.5 Goals @ 1.72 (Bet365) – 2.5 points

If there was ever a time for France to get its mojo back together, it should be tonight against Belarus who have conceded 19 goals in their 9 games so far. France will look to this game to get a victory and steal first spot in the table, with Sweden just a point behind them. The likes of Greizmann, Lacazette and Mbappe are likely to be the front 3 to start with Adrian Rabiot taking the place of an injured Kante in the lineup. Tolisso has settled well into this French team in terms of creating especially with the injury to Pogba and with a good attacking force behind France, they should be ramping up the goals.

Belarus have had an average campaign picking up just the 1 victory over Luxembourg to show for in their campaign. They have been beaten 4-1 and 3-1 by Netherlands while also losing  4-0 and 4-0 to Sweden. They were lucky in the first game of the campaign to get a way with a 0-0 draw against France and the French will be out for revenge of goals especially in front of their home fans. They have some injuries to contend with as regular starters Signevich, Rios, Kostadinov and Balanovich are all absent due to suspension. Additionally, Belarus don’t look like they will impose any threat in the scoring department having netted 5 goals in their 9 games so far with only the minor nations scoring less than them.

I am expecting France to run riot with a lot of players in good domestic form and battling for places for their flight next year; so I am backing over 3.5 goals in this encounter tonight.

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