World Cup Qualifiers: Expect more misery for managerless Netherlands

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WILLIE Duncan (@Willie_Duncan) loves international football and he’s found some bets for Tuesday friendlies.

Netherlands v Italy | Tuesday 19:45

Giampiero Ventura’s men cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win against Albania in Palermo on Friday night; it was the kind of assured performance that is almost expected of the Azzurri in qualifying for a major tournament.

Unfortunately for Netherlands, their dismal defeat against Bulgaria in Group A on Saturday night – a result that signalled the end for manager Danny Blind – is not exactly atypical either.

It’s hard to believe that a team that came within a penalty shoot-out victory of a place in the World Cup final in Brazil just three years ago is in such complete disarray – but they are, and the Azzurri will be keen to take full advantage during Tuesday’s friendly fixture.

Italy have a decidedly un-Italian record on the road in these games; indeed, the Azzurri have won just two of their last 15 friendly fixtures on the road – and their last friendly away win came in 2011.

The Dutch have won just one of their last eight matches on their own patch and the home fans certainly won’t be in a forgiving mood on the back of Netherlands shambolic loss in Sofia.

Italy, too, have a superb record in this fixture; they have been beaten in just one of their last 12 tussles with the Dutch, winning 2-0 the last time that the rivalry was renewed.

Ventura’s men are full of confidence and the squad is full of young players with a point to prove; the 17/10 quote, therefore, for an away win appears to be a solid selection.

Austria v Finland | Tuesday 19:45

Austria was the name on the lips of a lot of seemingly shrewd observers ahead of the European Championships in France last summer. Marcel Koller’s charges had cruised through their qualification campaign and, having been handed an apparently kind group stage draw, the Austrians looked set for an extended run in the competition.

Of course, things never really worked out that way and the road to Russia, too, looks to be complex; Austria are fourth in Group D after five games.

Finland, though, will surely pose few problems for Austria in Tuesday’s tussle; they were beaten 2-0 by Turkey on Friday night and, in truth, they are a poor side.

The Finns have failed to find the net in four of their last five fixtures and, with just one win in 16 games, Austria will likely claim the morale-boosting win that Koller’s charges crave.

More misery looks likely for Markku Kanerva’s men and the 21/20 quote from Stan James for the hosts to win to nil appears to offer decent value.

Best Bets

Netherlands v Italy – Italy to win (17/10 Unibet)

Austria v Finland – Austria to win to nil (21/20 Stan James)

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Willie is a freelance sports writer, specialising in Scottish football. He has covered Scottish football for more than a decade, working for a variety of betting organisations and media outlets. Away from betting, Edinburgh-born Willie enjoys nothing more than watching his beloved Hearts in action.

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