Despite the season having only just begun, club football takes a backseat this week as qualification for next summer’s World Cup continues. Many of the groups are finely balanced with just four games left to play and a number of teams cannot afford to lose any more games if they are to qualify for football’s biggest tournament. In this preview I’ll be focusing on Thursday nights European Qualifiers for the accumulator, but keep an eye out for one covering the Rest of the World.
Bulgaria vs Sweden
Sweden have impressed in this qualification campaign and currently find themselves sitting at the top of Group A, above France and the Netherlands. On Thursday they come up against a Bulgaria team who trail them by four points heading into the final stretch and Bulgaria will know that if they lose this game, they have almost no chance of qualifying for the World Cup. Bulgaria are very strong at home, having won all three of their qualifiers on home soil and I’m backing them to hold Sweden to a draw in this one.
Draw – 5/2 (Ladbrokes)
Cyprus vs Bosnia-Herzegovina
Cyprus have surprised a few people in this qualification campaign and they know that a win here against Bosnia could give them an outside shot at qualification. Bosnia have some quality players at their disposal though and you would be expecting them to win this one, so I’m backing an away win here.
Bosnia to win – 8/15 (Ladbrokes)
France vs Holland
This is, without doubt, the biggest game of the week as two heavyweights of international football face off against each other. Holland are in danger of missing out on another international tournament and if they lose on Thursday, they could find themselves six points off a qualification place with just three games left to play. In my opinion, France have one of, if not the, best squad in world football and I’m backing them to win this one.
France to win – 7/10 (Ladbrokes)
Greece vs Estonia
Greece are unbeaten so far in qualification, picking up three wins and three draws to sit second in Group H behind Belgium. On Thursday they come up against an Estonia side who have won just once so far in qualification and that was against the minnows of Gibraltar. Greece should win this one comfortably and I’m putting them in with a -1 handicap.
Greece (-1) – 11/10
4-Fold Total – 18.15/1 (Ladbrokes)