QUALIFYING for Euro 2020 continues on Friday night and international football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) unearths his favourite fancies.
San Marino v Belgium | Friday 6th September 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Eden Hazard and his brother, Thorgan, will miss Belgium's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Scotland and San Marino through injury but Roberto Martinez’s men should still be capable of running up a cricket score at no-hopers San Marino on Friday night.
The is the biggest mismatch in the international game according to the FIFA Rankings. San Marino – the European football minnows with a population of around 35,000 – are ranked 211th in the world and welcome a Belgium outfit that finished third at last year’s World Cup and currently occupy top spot in the latest rankings published in June.
Obviously, we’re opposing a San Marino side that’s lost their last 31 matches, been beaten in 46 of their most recent 47 home outings and failed to even score in all bar one of their last 20 encounters. The hosts have notched a grand tally of three goals in their most recent 30 games and a 1-0 friendly win over Liechtenstein in 2004 remains their only ever success.
La Serenissima’s squad is made up of largely domestic part-timers with seven players plying their trade in the Italian lower leagues. Young forwards Filippo Berardi and Nicola Nanni feature for Serie C clubs, with the rest of Franco Varrella’s group involved at a desperately low level to be capable of competing with Belgium.
Unsurprisingly, San Marino have been easily overcome in each of their opening four fixtures. However, most alarming was their non-performance during the bottom Nations League level where La Serenissima failed to net in losing all six games, highlighting the potential for a heavy home defeat on Friday night.
The way to play this contest is to head to the Correct Score market, Dutching a few big away victories. Using the correct staking system – Google a Dutching Calculator to help – we can eke out a generous price on Belgium achieving a cushy success at the San Marino Stadium.
Five of San Marino’s last six home matches ended in defeat by 1-0 to 3-0 but none of those opponents were particular fearful in the final-third. Instead, hammerings by Norway (8-0), Czech Republic (6-0) and Germany (8-0) during World Cup 2018 qualification offer a more accurate representation when the standard of visiting side increases.
Indeed, since 2014 World Cup qualification began, San Marino have lost by 6-0, 7-0, or 8-0 in seven (44%) of 16 competitive contests outside of the Nations League. Meanwhile, the teams that failed to rack up at least five goals here were Moldova, Lithuania, Switzerland, Estonia, Slovenia, Azerbaijan, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
With that in mind, I’m happy to head to Boylesports who are offering top price on the 6-0 (11/2), 7-0 (6/1) and 8-0 (15/2) Belgium victories. Using the aforementioned Dutching Calculator to get our staking plan correct, we’ll effectively be getting a 7/5 shot on any of those three Correct Scores landing on Friday night, which seems very fair.
Germany v Netherlands | Friday 6th September 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Old rivals Germany and Netherlands meet for the four time in 11 months on Friday night in a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier from Hamburg. Recent meetings have thrilled neutrals with 12 goals plundered across their first Group C contest, as well as two Nations League meetings.
I’m fully expecting another entertaining encounter at the Volksparkstadion with the Dutch requiring a positive result following their 3-2 last-gasp defeat in a pulsating match-up at the Johan Cruyff Arena in March. The Oranje are playing catch-up in the quest for a top two finish with Northern Ireland having made a flawless start from their first four fixtures.
Local press are therefore anticipating an attack-minded approach from Ronald Koeman’s side who have made great strides on the international circuit following the misery of missing out on the past two major tournaments. With two vibrant sides on display, an open game should ensure Both Teams To Score backers collect for ninth time in 14 Dutch games.
The case for a goal-heavy game increases when viewing the duos’ dire defensive records. Remarkably, Germany have only shutout four of their past 18 opponents, whilst the Netherlands have followed suit just three times in their most recent 12. But with BTTS far too short to support, we have to look elsewhere for a value-based selection.
Instead of adding Over 2.5 Goals to the equation – with the odds still below evens – I’m more interested in the 5/4 (BetVictor) available by throwing in Both Teams To Receive 0.5 Cards. Here, we’re essentially backing both sides scoring, and the two teams to collect at least one card each, not bad when you consider the bitter rivalry between the pair.
The niggles and nastiness between these two European powerhouses goes back decades. Portuguese referee Artur Soares Dias has been appointed to keep the peace and the 45-year-old whistleblower averaged 4.29 cards per-game domestically last term. With the pressure on, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see a couple of cards flashed in either direction.
San Marino v Belgium – Belgium to win 6-0 (11/2 Boylesports)
San Marino v Belgium – Belgium to win 7-0 (6/1 Boylesports)
San Marino v Belgium – Belgium to win 8-0 (15/2 Boylesports)
Germany v Netherlands – Both Teams To Score and Both Teams To Receive 0.5 Cards (5/4 BetVictor)