Bosnia and Herzegovina continue their EURO 2020 qualifying campaign against Greece on Tuesday. The Bosnians sit third in Group J after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Armenia – Greece and Italy stand above them on goal difference alone – but remain second favourites to finish in the top two and earn participation in next summer’s tournament. After their impressive Nations League campaign, where they won three of their four games against Austria and Northern Ireland (W3 D1), the Bosnians could also qualify via the play-offs if something was to go wrong. Greece will feel their chances of clinching second place from the grasp of the Bosnians will have improved drastically after their 2-0 victory over Liechtenstein last weekend. Getting off to a winning start, even against a team of such a lower calibre, is massive for momentum and confidence, something the Greeks will need given they don’t have too talented a squad. Some individual class, such as that of experienced Arsenal defender Sokratis, means they’re no pushovers either – he captains a back-line that has kept a clean sheet in four of their seven competitive outings since the start of 2018. Greece aren’t the most free-flowing side around, though – in fact, before Saturday they hadn’t scored more than a single goal in a match since their 4-0 thrashing of Gibraltar back in 2017. The Greeks should, therefore, have a tough time breaking through a Bosnian back-line that has kept a clean sheet in all but two of their last eight competitive home outings. Bosnia’s scoring form is almost the opposite to that of Tuesday’s visitors – they’ve scored two goals or more in six of their last eight competitive home outings – and front man Edin Dzeko has been their ‘go to’ in that regard – he’s scored three goals over his last three in his homeland. Bosnia come into this game as the odds on favourites, which is understandable considering their home form in the Nations League and 2018 World Cup Qualifying campaign.
After the Republic of Ireland’s tame win in Gibraltar, it’s hard to have any confidence in Mick McCarthy’s charges. Gibraltar are ranked in 194th place in FIFA international World football, playing 20 times and losing them all. To give a comparison, Georgia are ranked 91st and the Republic of Ireland 34th. Georgia have been winning most of their UEFA Nations League games, albeit against lower opposition than the Republic of Ireland. The Irish side’s form is very poor having won just the two games from twelve played since November 2017. Georgia have won eight of their last eleven games.
Switzerland continue their bid for EURO 2020 qualification on Tuesday. The Swiss have already secured a play-off spot for the tournament after an impressive Nations League campaign and they look to have brought that form forward after opening 2-0 win in Georgia on Saturday. Switzerland have only failed to qualify for one major tournament since the 2002 World Cup and reached the last 16 in Russia last summer so are favourites for a top two spot in qualifying Group D, which also includes the Republic of Ireland and Denmark. Denmark have had some recent success of their own. A round of 16 exit to finalists Croatia in the 2018 World Cup was one of a few respectable results the Danes tallied up over the tournament – another being their 0-0 draw in the group stage to eventual winners France. Kasper Schmeichel, Christian Eriksen, Kasper Dolberg and Yussuf Poulsen are some notable names to have been called up to the most recent squad by manager Age Hareide, who has been in charge of the team since 2016. Bookies make Switzerland the favourites here, but given Denmark’s recent results – the Danes have not lost a competitive match in 90 minutes since 2016 (W9 D8) – we prefer a bet on goals for this game. Switzerland’s matches see plenty of them and even without star man Xherdan Shaqiri and forward Haris Seferovic, who scored a hat-trick in their last home outing against Belgium (a 5-2 win), they were still able to score two away to Georgia over the weekend. Notably, Denmark’s impressive defensive form has largely been on their own turf – the Danes have kept a clean sheet in just two of their six qualifiers on the road since 2017.
Serbia had a recent friendly warm up draw in Germany. This is potentially more difficult. Portugal have their tails wagging having qualified for the UEFA Nations League finals day in the summer, although they have drawn their last three games. Serbia topped their UEFA Nations League group as Portugal did, but the Serbs are two tiers lower. Serbia are unbeaten in their last seven international matches. Portugal, Champions of Europe, do look in a different class having lost two games since July 2017. They played twenty-three times in that long run of success.
Portugal have won 2 and drawn 3 of their last 5 matches played, and drew their opening game in Group B in the UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier 0-0 at home against Ukraine. Serbia have won 3 and drawn 2 of their last 5 matches played and drew their last match played 1-1 away against Germany in a friendly only 4 day's ago. Portugal did win both legs against Serbia in the ECQ in 2015 winning 2-1 at home as 1-2 away. Serbia are having their opening game in Group B of the UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier and have gone their last 7 matches played unbeaten losing 0-2 against Brazil and 1-2 against Switzerland in their last 10 matches. Portugal have only lost once in their last 10 matches played that was 2-1 against Uruguay, drawing their last 3 matches played on the bounce. I am taking Portugal to win this match tonight.
ENGLAND kicked off their campaign in good style by beating Czech Republic 5-0 at Wembley on Friday. Montenegro picked up a point (1-1) on the road in Bulgaria in their quest to qualify for a major tournament for the first time. Interestingly, England have beaten tonight’s hosts just once in 4 previous meetings but have never lost. Defensive solidity is the foundation of Montenegro’s approach and that worked for a large period against Bulgaria, as they held out the hosts for 82 minutes of that game. England bring a much stronger attack however with Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling leading the line for the three lions. The latter has been in superb form of late, scoring 10 goals in his 7 most recent games for both club and country, including a hat-trick last time out. With England on a 4 game win streak and Montenegro winning just 2 of their last 10 games (D4, L4), the visitors can be expected to come away with all 3 points.