Euro 2020 Qualifying: Dutch to sign-off in style

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QUALIFYING for Euro 2020 concludes on Tuesday and James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) is on-hand to unearths his favourite fancies.

Netherlands v Estonia | Tuesday 19th November 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports

The Netherlands would get the point they needed to get them over the line and secure a spot at Euro 2020 away in Northern Ireland on Saturday night. It was a game they ultimately dominated in relation to possession, and the fact that brought on a defender towards the end suggested they were happy to draw in the end.

However, with progression now assured, Ronald Koeman will want his side to put on more of a show to end this international break.

Estonia are probably the ideal opposition for the Dutch should they indeed want to get into their groove again. They sit bottom of the group, losing six of their seven clashes and securing just one solitary point. They’ve netted only two goals in reply, so it is anticipated the likes of Virgil van Dijk should have quite a routine evening in Amsterdam, that is unless Koeman decides to rotate his squad.

Even if he were to do so, you’d fancy the Dutchman with their array of talent would have no trouble whatsoever in despatching an Estonian side which contains players that play in the likes of Norway, Poland, Armenia, Slovenia and Kazakhstan, as well as their home nation. No game is ever played on paper, but if this was, then it’d be over before a ball was even kicked.

Obviously this is a game which ultimately has no meaning for Netherlands from a qualification perspective, and it is likely Germany will win the group anyway. However, the fact they drew 0-0 last time out to confirm qualification does leave me to think they won’t be happy to leave things like that. I do think they’ll look to put the Estonians to the sword.

After all, the Netherlands were on a four-game winning streak prior to their trip to Belfast, which included them winning 4-2 away in Germany and 4-0 in the away tie in Estonia. Tuesday’s away side are in dreadful form regardless, and they haven’t won a game since March, which was a slender away success over Gibraltar.

Losing 1-0 away to Ukraine in a recent friendly looks like it was close, but the reality was that Ukraine gave them a 1-0 battering. Estonia has failed to score in their last three away.

I’ll take a chance on Netherlands winning 4-0 at 5/1 (Paddy Power) and also 5-0 at 13/2 (Bet Victor). They’ve only scored more than three in one home match since 2017, but with no pressure on them here and Estonia offering virtually no goal threat, this should be one-sided enough, but perhaps not to an embarrassing level for Estonia given this is effectively a dead-rubber.

North Macedonia v Israel | Tuesday 19th November 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports

As will be the case in this last round of games in qualification, there are a number of dead-rubbers on show and North Macedonia against Israel is another of those. However, it’d be fair to say that this is still a game that both will take seriously given that neither are necessarily a major footballing nation and can hardly pass over winnable opportunities such as this.

Poland and Austria have secured progression out of Group G without a great deal of issue, whilst Slovenia, North Macedonia and Israel are effectively the best of the rest in the group, with Latvia very much the whipping boys.

An even game is anticipated given that both countries have an identical record after nine games, which reads won three, drew two and lost four. The earlier head-to-head meeting in Israel between the two saw North Macedonia walk away with a creditable away point, a game in which they came from behind.

There really is not a great deal between these two but for that reason I can see this being quite a competitive encounter.

The Macedonians for one have only failed to score in two group matches, both of which came against top of the table Poland home and away. Poland are also the only side in which Israel has failed to score against, when going down 4-0 away from home. I really do think we have to get both teams to score on side on this occasion.

Rather than stick just with that play, I am prepared to back one of these teams outright. Therefore, North Macedonia to win and both teams to score shall be the selection at attractive odds of 15/4 (BoyleSports).

For all that Israel do possess one of my favourite players in the form of goal machine Eran Zahavi, I just can’t back them given their dreadful away record. They’ve won only two away matches since the end of 2016, which came against Latvia earlier in the group, and Liechtenstein.

North Macedonia lost at home to both Poland and Austria earlier in this group stage, but they did defeat Slovenia 2-1 last month, whilst before those two losses they did win six in succession in front of their own supporters, including a 2-0 success over Norway.

Also, only against Latvia have both of these teams kept a clean sheet in the group stage, so goals should be a play, and I’ll plump for a narrow success for the home team.

Best Bets

Netherlands v Estonia – Netherlands 4-0 (5/1 Paddy Power)

Netherlands v Estonia – Netherlands 5-0 (13/2 Bet Victor)

North Macedonia v Israel – North Macedonia to win and Both Teams to Score (15/4 Boylesports)

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