‘Over’ wins for Germany, Dutch
Posted Friday, October 11 2013 at 01:00
Spain vs. Belarus
The world champions go out to cement their place in Brazil 2014 ahead of pursuers France, and Belarus are the unlucky victims standing in the way. They should be brushed aside without much ado, as soon as Vicente Del Bosque figures out which eleven of his hundreds of stars to put out there. Ok, he has already narrowed it down to like 25, but still.
Netherlands vs. Hungary
iThe Netherland have been flawless on the road to Brazil and, even if they are already home and dry, that won’t stop them having some fun. It is a long time since Hungary were called the Magnificent Magyars, the golden team led by Ferenc Puskas that reached the 1954 World Cup final, but this time they fancy sneaking back in through the backdoor.
Germany vs. Ireland
The Germans have been free scoring in these qualifiers and, stubborn though they are famed to be, the Irish will find Joachim Loew’s men irresistible. The Irish always seem to have a goal in them though, record-breaking Robbie Keane and company not easy to shut out completely. That should make for an ‘Over’.
England vs. Montnegro
England are unbeaten in qualifying and should already be in Brazil but for the fact that they have drawn four times. This game is like a Cup final for them with qualifying still a three-way question in this group. It brings back memories of Croatia at Wembley, remember Steve Mclaren and the umbrella? Roy Hodgson won’t suffer that badly. Home win
Luxembourg vs. Russia
In their attempt to keep Portugal at bay, table leaders Russia will throw everything at Luxembourg in this away fixture. Their hosts, winners of only one game in this campaign so far, will not be able to hold off Kerzhakov, Denisov, Arshavin and co. Away win
Croatia vs. Belgium
Perhaps the tightest of all games in this round of World Cup qualifiers across Europe tonight, this should be a cracker. Croatia have left it a little too late to catch Belgium and will have to settle for the playoffs, win or lose. Two sides which play beautifully should cancel each other out though. Draw
Portugal vs. Israel
Portugal have for years now made hard work of qualification for major tournaments, having to sneak in via the playoffs on a few occasions. Israel is a must-win for them to avoid that fate, with Russia ahead on points. There is arguably no bigger risk than counting on Portugal, but I will. Narrow home win
Malta vs. Czech
Having done very poorly all through, the Czech Republic have an outside chance of reaching the playoffs ahead of Bulgaria and Denmark if other results go their way. They have to take care of their own business first though, and they will. Emphatically. ‘Over’
Denmark vs. Italy
Denmark desperately need something from this game if they are to go past Bulgaria and into second place in this group, and earn a playoff berth. Italy cannot be caught and will be relaxed, making them dangerous opponents as they will give some eager-to-prove-themselves a run out. The scenario makes a strong case for a draw.
Bosnia vs. Liechtenstein
Bosnia have stayed ahead of Greece on goal difference between they have been scoring for fun during this campaign. Away to Liechtenstein they managed eight goals, and at home it is hard to see Zvjezdan Misimovic, Edin Dzeko and Vedad Ibisevic being held at bay. This one has ‘Over’ written all over it.
Ethiopia vs. Nigeria
Ethiopia have been this campaign’ surprise package, fending off every attempt by South Africa to reach these playoffs. A World Cup appearance would be out of this world, but African champions Nigeria will not be taking them for granted. Draw
Ivory Coast vs. Senegal
The Senegalese were not impressive and struggled to get here, using a narrow win over 10-man Uganda in the last game of the groups to stumble in. Ivory Coast seems to bring out the best in them however and this one won’t be easy. Still though the Ivorians will edge the home leg.
Tunisa vs. Cameroon
Having been decidedly second best to Cape Verde in the group stages, the Tunisians are here by default. A revitalized Cameroon is way stronger than the north Africans who are at their worst in a long time, but never write off a team that has been handed a second chance. Draw