Featured post

World Cup 2018 Group Picks (June 19th-24th)

The World Cup has produced some memorable moments already with a classic match between Portugal and Spain the highlight of the opening games...

Friday, 27 March 2015

Euro 2016 Qualifiers Picks 2015 (March 27-29)

I am not a big fan of the international breaks, but the Euro 2016 Qualifiers are almost reaching very important times for some of the teams looking to make their way to France next summer. For the majority of the 'big' nations, it looks plain sailing, but teams like Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium have some work to do and games this weekend are very important for them to get back on track.

There is a range of games being played for television coverage over the next three days so you're bound to find some entertainment, but I can't wait to roll back with the Premier League next weekend.

England v Lithuania Pick: I don't think there is anything wrong in saying that England are not always the most entertaining team to watch and this game is not one that looks set to get the pulse racing for fans on a Friday night. The tension of qualification has almost gone thanks to wins over Switzerland and Slovenia and the additional places to qualify for the extended Euro 2016 tournament in France and attendances to England games have dropped.

All credit to Roy Hodgson for getting on with things, but the only way he will keep the media off his back is if England run out comfortable winners on Friday.

And they should do just that... Lithuania are not the best travellers and have found the best teams they have played to be far too good for them for the most part. Heavy losses in Bosnia and Switzerland over the last two qualifying campaigns suggest England shoul be routine winners, while England themselves have scored at least three goals in 5 of their last 6 qualifiers at Wembley Stadium.

In Harry Kane, England have someone in red-hot form and the home team should show the difference in levels between these teams and win by at least three goals I feel.

Kazakhstan v Iceland Pick: This is the kind of qualifier that Iceland have to circle as a 'must win' game if they have serious ambitions of qualifying for their first major international tournament, especially knowing they have to visit Turkey and the Netherlands later in the Group.

Kazakhstan are a competitive team, but they have struggled defensively which should mean Iceland have chances to score the goals to carry them to three points in this one. However, Kazakhstan have also scored against the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Turkey which makes them a danger to a team like Iceland who have to play pressure-free football.

I seriously considered backing Iceland on the Asian Handicap considering Kazakhstan have lost their last three games by two goals each, but the attacking threat the home team clearly has can't be under-estimated. They have scored in 7 of their last 13 home qualifiers and a fair few of those have come against teams of Iceland's level.

On the other hand, Kazakhstan have lost a lot of those games and backing both teams to score in a game Iceland win has to be worth a small interest.

Andorra v Bosnia and Herzegovina Pick: There is a lot of pressure on Bosnia and Herzegovina heading into this latest qualifier as another failure to win might be enough to put them out of the European Championship. They have had some disappointing results in the qualifiers so far, but this would be the ultimate embarrassment if they ended Andorra's run of 48 straight qualifier losses.

However, it has to be remembered that Andorra are unlikely to just roll over and play dead as the have troubled plenty of visitors to them in recent games. The fact remains that only 4 of 12 visitors have scored three or more goals against Andorra, although Bosnia do have the attacking talent to get to that number.

The big question for Bosnia is whether the change in the calendar year has been enough to change the mindset and finally put the World Cup to the back of their minds. This is a team that scored a lot of goals in wins in Liechtenstein and Latvia in the World Cup qualifiers and they are capable of putting Andorra to the sword in this one.

An early goal would definitely settle the Bosnian minds and I like them to prove they are still alive in this Group with a routine and comfortable win in Andorra.

Belgium v Cyprus Pick: This is an important week for Belgium who are looking to get their qualification campaign back on track as they face Cyprus and Israel in the coming days. Wins in both of those games will make Belgium the favourites to top the section, but dropping any points and the pressure really is on as they look to finish in one of the top two places in the Group.

To be honest, the two automatic qualifiers and third place being sent into the Play Offs means it would take a huge upset for Belgium to fail to have the chance to play in France next summer, although they can't allow complacency to set in and just think they have to turn up to right the situation.

They should be far too strong for a Cyprus team that has a number of injuries affecting the squad they were able to pick for this qualifier as well as the fact that they have been a poor traveller in competitive games. Cyprus have lost 9 of their last 10 away qualifiers, although they have to be respected for keeping the score down in the majority of them.

Belgium are not exactly a team that is going to put up big numbers in terms of goals themselves, but the injury crisis for Cyprus may make things easier for them in this game. If Belgium get their noses in front early, this could be one-way traffic for much of the ninety minutes and I will back the home team to really get qualification back on track with a convincing win.

Netherlands v Turkey Pick: This is a huge game for both the Netherlands and Turkey where the winner will feel their European Championship qualifying campaign is back on track, while the loser would begin to wonder if they are going to make it to France next summer.

It is a bigger game for Turkey, but home advantage should give the Netherlands the edge in the match and I expect they will prove too strong. For all the disappointment of losing to the Czech Republic and Iceland, the Netherlands know destiny is still with them as they host both of those teams later in the Group, while they have won 17 home qualifiers in a row.

Most of those wins have come with some relative comfort and the Netherlands beat Turkey 2-0 at home and away during the World Cup qualifiers for the tournament in Brazil. While they have struggled to match the results they achieved last summer, the Netherlands have been very good at home in these kinds of games and I will back them to win this one with room to spare.

MY PICKS: England - 2.5 Asian Handicap @ 2.04 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Both Teams to Score and Iceland to Win @ 4.75 William Hill (1 Unit)
Bosnia and Herzegovina - 2.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.85 Bet365 (2 Units)
Belgium - 2.25 Asian Handicap @ 1.96 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Netherlands - 1 Asian Handicap @ 1.87 Bet Victor (2 Units)

March Update27-16, + 27.96 Units (79 Units Staked, + 35.39% Yield)

February Final20-24-2, + 3.19 Units (75 Units Staked, + 4.25% Yield)
January Final10-22-1, - 10.54 Units (57 Units Staked, - 18.49% Yield)
December Final25-19-1, + 18.70 Units (81 Units Staked, + 23.09% Yield)
November Final17-21, - 0.59 Units (69 Units Staked, - 1% Yield)
October Final8-18, - 14.79 Units (47 Units Staked, - 31.47% Yield)
September Final12-18, - 2.28 Units (41 Units Staked, - 5.56% Yield)
August Final8-22, - 19.92 Units (51 Units Staked, - 39.06% Yield)

Season 2014/15100-144-4, - 26.23 Units (421 Units Staked, - 6.23% Yield)
Season 2013/14164-185-3, + 15.84 Units (577 Units Staked, + 2.75% Yield)
Season 2012/13+ 4.42 Units (415 Units Staked, + 1.07% Yield)

No comments:

Post a Comment