Euro 2020 Qualifying: Fast-starting Romania can shine on Saturday


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

Denmark v Switzerland | Saturday 12th October 2019, 17:00 | Sky Sports

Group D remains wide open as we have three of the five nations within the group battling it out for the top-two qualification positions. Denmark lead the way in this group but do face a tricky trip to Georgia, meaning both Denmark and Switzerland have a chance to make up some ground. The Danes hold second spot by one point over the Swiss, and both are still to taste defeat in this group.

No matter what happens in this game it won’t knock either nation out with a defeat, even with only two matches remaining in the case of Denmark. They’ll claim three points in their next game versus Gibraltar before what already looks to be a defining encounter away to Ireland in their last encounter.

Switzerland have Ireland too, but at home, and then Georgia at home before a routine win over Gibraltar. This game isn’t necessarily more important to one nation than the other.

Considering this is arguably the two biggest and most recently successful footballing nations in the group facing off, I can see this being a tight one. Denmark are one thing and that is hard to beat. In fact, they’re unbeaten in their last 11 internationals. The frustration within that however is that six of those have been draws, two of which came against Ireland and another when meeting Switzerland last March.

Switzerland of course ventured to the latter stages of the UEFA Nations League, losing to Portugal in the semis and then England on penalties in the third-fourth place play-off. They’ve faced a higher calibre of opponent in comparison to Denmark, and as such their form isn’t as strong. Still, they had a fairly recent win over Belgium to their name and they’re certainly one of those teams that are a threat to all once they click.

I am very cautious about backing Denmark in this game. They do have second-spot in their possession and whilst they’ve played a game more than Switzerland, this does strike me more as a must-win lose sort of encounter. They have Ireland still to play and a chance to correct matters should this not go to plan. Denmark are also undefeated in home internationals since October 2016, with many, many draws again included.

This isn’t an outcome I normally back but I can just see a draw occurring here, and odds of 47/20 (Marathon) makes it a worthy play.

Just seven of Denmark’s last 26 internationals saw Under 2.5 goals inside 90-minutes, which reflects how tight their games have been. Also, Christian Eriksen is such a big part of how they play, to the point where you could say they rely on him for creativity. He clearly isn’t ‘on it’ this season and although playing for his country should spur him on, he doesn’t enter this in great form.

Also, 13 of Switzerland’s last 23 internationals ended Under 2.5 goals. These have generally occurred in games similar to that of when facing Denmark; two relatively evenly-matched sides. Switzerland don’t have any real world beaters in their side, especially as Xherdan Shaqiri turned down the chance to be a part of this squad in order to stay in Liverpool to try and fight for a place in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI.

Faroe Islands v Romania | Saturday 12th October 2019, 17:00 | Sky Sports

Group F is probably the most open group remaining in the quest for a Euro 2020 spot. Although Spain look pretty nailed on for the top spot, there is Sweden, Romania and Norway all vying for that elusive second position and all are still in with a realistic shot with four matches remaining.

One thing that can be confirmed in this round of fixtures and that is Faroe Islands being officially out of contention. They need to win all their games and hope for a footballing miracle to qualify. This is not going to happen. They’ve lost six from six in this group so far, including away to Malta, and that reflects where they are at this moment in time.

Romania haven’t qualified for any of the last five World Cup’s, but they did appear at Euro 2016, but departed in the group stage. With a trip to Spain still to come for them and welcoming Norway in a few days’ time, it is vitally important that they don’t slip up when taking on the Faroes.

This will be the eighth ever head-to-head meeting and Romania still hold a 100% record. That includes the home meeting earlier in this group phase, and they secured a very easy 4-1 win.

Wins are certainly hard to come by for the Faroe Islands. In qualification for Euro 2016 they actually achieved a memorable double over Greece, but since then they’ve only defeated Liechtenstein, Andorra, Latvia and Malta. They ultimately come up very short against anyone in an upper class, and Romania do certainly fit into that category.

Do they have any chance in this game? Well, they are at home and that will always give them half a squeak. They did manage to score in the home clash with Spain and they’re undefeated in six of their last ten at home. But again, that includes clashes with the previously mentioned countries.

One thing Romania have started to do is improve their away record. In their UEFA Nations League group they didn’t lose any of their away encounters, and that included winning in Montenegro and a solid point in Serbia. They drew away in Denmark in qualification for the last World Cup and also drew in Norway earlier in this current group phase. They too have proven very hard to beat for a while now, losing just four of their last 22 overall.

Romania are unsurprisingly odds-on favourites to win this game, but I am quite surprised at the price given for another selection. That is in the Half Time-Full Time market and I am more than happy to back Romania/Romania at 5/6 (Coral). I expected this to be considerably shorter, and clearly there is some expectation to the Faroes frustrating the Romanians for the first 45-minutes at least.

A possible reason for this is that Malta did exactly that when facing Romania away recently, a game which ended 1-0. However, the Faroes at home will have slightly more ambitious intentions compared to this if was away from home, and they scored away in Romania so you’d like to think they’d have a little go, at least.

This will only open up matters for Romania, who’ll be keen to score early and make this as routine as possible. They’ve been leading at HT in four of their last five wins, whilst Faroe Islands have been behind at the interval in their last eight defeats.

Best Bets

Denmark v Switzerland – Draw (47/20 Marathon)

Faroe Islands v Romania – Romania/Romania HT/FT (5/6 Coral)

About Author

Since leaving university I've worked as a Research/Football Performance/Betting Analyst. I live and breath all things football. This has gradually helped me with my betting when looking for value and ultimately, winning selections. I've experienced both the bad, and more recently, the good supporting Lincoln City, with whom my weekends aren't the same without.

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