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World Cup qualifiers: Pick your bankers and your blowouts

by Sean Goff | October 15, 2012
Spain 2010

SPANISH STROLL: Spain celebrate their 2010 World Cup win (pic: Inpho)

By Sean Goff  | World Cup Qualifying 2014

Group A
Croatia v Wales 7pm

Gareth Bale rescued Wales against Scotland but the bookies make the Croats 3/10 favs to add to their seven point total so far. A tall order for Chris Coleman’s side. Home banker.

FYR Macedonia v Serbia  7.30pm

A local derby and two evenly matched sides. The Serbs (21/20) need a win but this is a tricky contest to predict and Macedonia (13/5) will be up for it. Best avoided.

Belgium v Scotland  7.45pm

Group favourites Belgium (1/3f) could hasten an early departure for Scotland (9/1) and their manager Craig Levein who needs a draw at least to stay alive until next year. Sorry, Craig. Home banker. 

Group B

Czech Republic v Bulgaria 7pm

A close contest in store but the Czechs’ recent form (8/13) is nothing to write home about against a Bulgarian side who have held Italy and Denmark at home.  Bulgaria at 3/1 in the ‘Draw-No Bet’ market makes some appeal here.

Italy v Denmark   7.45pm

The Azzurri (1/2f) have built on a strong Euro 2012 and have the whip hand while defeat for the Danes (6/1) could sink their qualification hopes. Home banker at a decent price

Group C

Germany v Sweden   7.45 pm

Germany were barely out of second gear against  Ireland while Sweden struggled to win 2-1 away against the Faroe Islands. At 2/7, the Germans will get the job done

Austria v Kazakhstan  7.30pm

A ‘must-win’ game for Marcel Koller’s home side (2/9 favs) who need to make home advantage count after drawing 0-0 away to the visitors (12/1) last Friday. Wouldn’t dive in at 2/9 though

Group D

Andorra v Estonia   6pm

The whipping boys of the group are playing for pride. Andorra (11/1) have conceded 12 goals so far, while Estonia (1/4) just the six. Who do you trust?

Romania v Netherlands 7pm

Something’s got to give as both sides are unbeaten in the group and could be a lot closer than the odds of Romania (15/4),  Holland (3/4) suggest.

Hungary v Turkey   7.30pm

The home side are 9/5 to keep their unbeaten start going against the Turks (6/4) who aren’t the greatest travelers at times. If you really fancy Turkey the draw no bet market offers a bit of insurance at 4/6. 

Group E

Cyprus v Norway  6pm

The Cypriots at 16/5 are capable of holding their own at home and Norway (10/11) look skinny having already been beaten 2-0 away by Iceland. Norway should edge it but may be best watched.

Iceland v Switzerland  7.30pm

The top two go head-to-head with Iceland (7/2) ready to leapfrog the Swiss (4/5)  should they win.  Switzerland are solid so far but not at 4/5 against an improving Iceland side.

Albania v Slovenia 7.45pm

Slovenia (11/8) needed a 90th minute winner to get a result here in 2011 but Albania (2/1) to win doesn’t inspire confidence either. Watching brief. 

Group F

Russia v Azerbaijan  4pm

Fabio Capello has Russia (1/12) firing on all cylinders and the home side should have no problems against the visitors (25/1). Home banker.

Israel v Luxembourg  5pm

Israel (1/16) can keep tabs on the top two in what should be a formality against perennial whipping boys Luxembourg (25/1). Home banker.

Portugal v Northern Ireland  8.45pm

CR7 and Co. (1/10) should complete the home win treble in the group that should narrow the group of six down to three when qualifying resumes. Home banker

Group G

Latvia v Liechtenstein  6pm

Three games each.  No points each.  Latvia are 2/9 to get their first points on the board against 12/1 shots Liecehtenstein. Should be a formality but there will be better 2/9 shots.  Home win. 

Bosnia-Herzegovina v Lithuania   7pm

And here it is. Bosnia-Herzegovina are flying high and scoring goals and should do the business against Lithuania (12/1) to deliver the three points on the ‘acca’ special.

Slovakia v Greece 7.30pm

It’s tight and the top with Slovakia (13/10) to add to their two home wins so far against the Greeks (21/10).  Too close to call unless you’re Slovakian or Greek.

Group H

Ukraine v Montenegro  7pm

Two away draws for the Ukraine (7/10)  so far sets them up for a home tie against a Montenegrin side (4/1) that has held Poland at home 2-2 and walloped San Marino 6-0 away. Tread carefully. 

San Marino v Moldova   7.30pm

Poor San Marino. They’re 14/1 to win at home against the mighty Moldova who have probably never been 2/11 favs in their life. And no-one wants the ‘acca’ to be let down by a 2-11 shot.

Group I

Belarus v Georgia   5pm

Georgia (11/4) beat Belarus (1/1) 1-0 in their home game last month in what was a tight affair. There shouldn’t be much in it again but Belarus with 0 points so far will have to come out and attack. This could suit Georgia at 7/4 in the ‘ draw no bet’ market.

Spain v France  8pm

The double-European champions Spain (4/9) are on a 24-match unbeaten run but are Didier Deschamps’ Les Bleus really 7/1 shots? Spain’s 1-0 win over France at Euro 2012   doesn’t justify the price against France but the home side should be too good in this derby game.

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