To liven up this international break, I’ve decided to test my luck with a five-match accumulator on Tuesday’s top matches.
Montenegro V. England (England Win)
This match is hard to call. The Three Lions are the bookies’ favourites, but are they more desperate for three points than Group H leaders Montenegro? Also, England’s injury list continues to grow. Theo Walcott sustained a hamstring in training for Friday’s San Marino match. However, England’s 8-0 win on Friday was a positive result, allowing a mismatched back line gain chemistry and gave veteran starters time to rest. Also, Montenegro did not look impressive in their 1-0 victory over Moldova. It should be a close one, but I’m picking England at 8/11 on.
France V. Spain (Draw)
It goes without saying that this clash between European powerhouses will be tough to call. Usually Spain would be heavy favourites in this match, but France’s current hot streak has many fans siding with Les Blues. Also, Spain come into this match cold with a less than impressive home draw against Finland on Friday. To complicate things for the Spaniards even more, key players David Silva and Xavi will not play due to suspension and injury. France earned an impressive draw during the away match in this group. Les Bleus are in a prime position to further extend their two-point lead in Group I. But, it’s never smart to bet against the reigning World Cup and European Champions. Spain’s unbeaten streak will reach twenty with a hard fought draw in Paris.
Wales V. Croatia (Croatia Win)
Former Tottenham Hotspur teammates Luca Modric and Gareth Bale are the footballers to watch in this Group A match. Wales will count on Bale for a world-class performance to keep their dwindling World Cup dreams alive. After their 2-1 comeback victory over Scotland, Wales trail Belgium and Croatia by seven points. Picking up three points at home would be a big boost for the Dragons.
However, Croatia’s strong defence might be too much for an already struggling Wales attack. Through their first 5 World Cup qualifying matches, Croatia’s defence has conceded just two goals while Wales have scored just five. Also, Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey is suspended for the match. This will allow the Croatian defence to give even more focus on one playmaker. If Croatia can stop Bale, they will win. I’m picking Croatia.
Serbia V. Scotland (Serbia Win)
Both Serbia and Scotland have gotten off to lackluster starts in their 2014 World Cup Qualifiers. After 5 matches, Scotland have more losses than points (0-3-2). Serbia have managed one amazing home victory, beating Wales 6-1 at home. However, they have not scored a single goal in any other World Cup qualifier. There is not much at stake in this match besides national pride. Scotland will be without attacker Steven Fletcher and midfielder Robert Snodgrass. Serbia should be able to pick up three points at home.
Republic of Ireland V. Austria (Draw)
Currently tied with seven points, Austria and the Republic of Ireland will be fighting hard for three points as they both trail second place Sweden by one point. The Republic of Ireland come into this match with great momentum after Friday’s impressive draw against Sweden in Stockholm. The Irish crowd was loud in Stockholm and should create a hostile environment in Dublin tonight. However, Ireland’s top scorer and captain Robbie Keane, who played a vital role on Friday, will miss the match with an injury.
With a +9 goal difference after five matches it is hard to believe Austria are underdogs in Dublin. Austria may be a more talented team, but Ireland’s home advantage and momentum should help them earn a point tonight.