Romania v Spain | Thursday 5th September 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports
This summer saw Romania surprise many in the U21 European Championship, topping their group which included Croatia, France and England. They scored four against the Croats and the Young ;ions but they were unfortunately bested by en-titre champions Germany. Nevertheless, it made people stand up and take note of this vibrant, forward-thinking crop.
Head honcho Cosmin Contra has called upon some of those starlets to make the advancement into the senior set-up with aspirations of Euro 2020 qualification. Ianis Hagi – son, of course, of the famous Gheorge Hagi – provides class and quality on the ball; he has great balance and an eye for a pass, there’s little to dislike about the attacking midfielder who made a switch to Belgian side Genk this summer, scoring on debut.
Another gem from the system that was on the move recently was George Puscas, no relation to a great here though. The 23-year-old made the switch to Reading after a few years in Italy. He’s direct, physical and already becoming a fan favourite at the Madejski for his combative style. Puscas bagged seven times in qualifying for the Euro U21s and his goals in the actual competition saw him become the highest scorer for the Tricolorii.
Hagi and Puscas have deserved their call up to the first team and it will be an interesting period of transition for the boys from Bucharest. Goals were a feature of that young side in the summer and I think we could see that translate to this side too.
We usually think of Romania as quite a stubborn side, usually struggling to score goals. However, their last four games have seen three or more goals in each of them and I like the look of that barrier been broke again as Spain make the trip east.
La Roja were also excellent in Italy as they won the Euro U21s. It was a squad stacked with talent and many of them have also made the step up to the national side. Athletic Bilbao centre half Unai Nunez, Real Sociedad forward Mikel Oyarzabal, Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz and Arsenal playmaker Dani Ceballos are all in the squad after impressing this summer.
It adds some youthful exuberance to an already starstudded squad. Spain have got goals and creativity all over the park and it’s hard to argue that they don’t have the best squad in the world at this moment in time.
Over 2.5 Goals has been chalked up at the odd price of 22/25 with Marathon and it looks more than fair. For all Spain are well stocked going forward, they can be susceptible at the back and Romania on home soil aren’t expected to get a result so can play with freedom.
Finland v Greece | Thursday 5th September 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Greece seemed to be the underachievers of the last decade. Long gone have the class of 2004 and they’re a shadow of their former selves. 2012 was the last time they were at a major tournament and since 2014 they’ve recorded a W10-D14-L24 record. Paltry.
A lack of goals is a big reason why they’ve struggled, bereft of pace and confidence at the business end of the pitch has been one key downfall and options are scarce. It’s not been great at the back either recently. The Ethniki have conceded two or more in each of their last four games. Greece also recently played Finland and lost 2-0 in the Nations League.
With the Greek creaks at the back, one man they’ll be frightened of coming up against us the red-hot Teemu Pukki. Kicking off his campaign with five goals and the Premier League Player of the Month award, they’ve every reason to be wary.
The Norwich man will surely be charged with the goal getting for the Scandinavians and with three goals in his last two in qualifying you couldn’t put him off. BetVictor go 2/1 that he nets on Thursday night and that looks a splendid price, to me.