World Cup 2018 Qualifying Preview Part 2

World Cup 2018 Qualifying Preview Part 2

Sunday brings about the start of phase two of these important World Cup Qualifiers. There is sometimes a low key feeling around this set of fixtures as there are many games that appear forgone conclusions. The first set of games proved though that you can take no side for granted in a tough qualifying process in Europe. The Republic of Ireland squeezed out a needed 1-0 win over Georgia on Thursday evening and would have looked at this particular double header as a chance to bag all 6 points. It is fair to say that they were somewhat fortunate to get the first three. A trip to Moldova normally would be of little concern but Martin O’Neill’s squad was already severely depleted and can now count Hendriks and Brady as additional absentees. Moldova are not the best unit and come into this off drubbings from both Wales and Serbia. This fixture, however, does not have that vibe and it would be no surprise if the Irish were held to a bore draw. It could easily be 0-0 and it’s probably not going to be one to keep on your planner. If you are looking for goals however then surely Iceland v Turkey won’t let anyone down. Iceland may have won the hearts of many with their Euro 2016 displays but there is no doubting that they are suspect defensively. Finland let them off the hook last week and I don’t see Turkey being so generous. They have some neat players who will pick Iceland apart and this one looks like a nice away win to put in your acca....
World Cup 2018 Qualifying Preview Part 1

World Cup 2018 Qualifying Preview Part 1

International Football generally does not have the same level of day to day drama we get in the domestic game…but that was before Sam Allardyce got involved. England have not been out of the headlines since Allardyce left in controversial circumstances. It is now the job of Gareth Southgate to pick up the pieces and guide England through the next four games at least. Southgate’s first task appears simple enough as minnows Malta come to Wembley on Saturday for what should be a routine England victory. England fans still have Iceland fresh in their memories so will be taking nothing for granted. It hasn’t just been Allardyce making the headlines from the England set-up, a certain Wayne Rooney has also been under the spotlight. Southgate has confirmed Rooney remains captain but that does not guarantee his starting place against a team that should cause England no issues. Southgate is not short of attacking options with Sturridge, Vardy and Rashford all in good nick. Scotland banged 5 past Malta last month and you can be sure England will be looking for more. If you fancy a punt then Over 5.5 Goals has to be a contender and if Rooney does get on you just know he will score so check out that Anytime Goalscorer market. Before the soap opera that is the England team at the moment we have more pressing matters with both Wales and Ireland being in action on Thursday evening. Wales are in cruise control right now and go to Austria full of confidence. Austria coach Marcel Koller has suggested that Wales were lucky during the Euro’s…perhaps...
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