Kosovo v Czech Republic | Saturday 7th September 2019, 14:00 | Sky Sports
We have a first-ever meeting between Kosovo and Czech Republic taking place in Pristina on Saturday, with both nations realistically battling it out for second spot behind England in Group A as they look to progress towards Euro 2020. Kosovo remain unbeaten after three games, of which two ended in draws, last time out winning away in Bulgaria. The Czech have bounced back from opening up their campaign with a heavy loss to England by winning back-to-back encounters.
As mentioned, it is a game where both would really love to win, although Kosovo being the home side may feel they slightly need the win that little bit more, with a return away trip to Prague to come in November. Kosovo have essentially been a footballing nation since 2010, and they’ll take heart from winning their Nations League group, also going unbeaten.
Kosovo are actually on a 14-game unbeaten run in all competitions. Facing Denmark was probably the toughest test in terms of calibre of opposition, and they did negotiate a very weak Nations League group, but still, they’ll be full of confidence going into this round of games.
Czech Republic have been very up-and down to say the least for a couple of years now. In fact, they last drew a game in June 2017, then either winning or losing every match since then. Whilst they’ve not qualified for a World Cup since 2016, they have been regulars at the European Championships, even managing a third-place finish at Euro 2004.
Those days are probably a long way off returning however, as a glance at their teamsheet doesn’t reveal any more household names. On paper, they should have too much for Kosovo, but Kosovo are forever improving, and they themselves have quite a handy squad going these days, and are certainly no mugs.
There was one selection which jumped off the page to me and I am most delighted at seeing the price for that respective market. Both Teams To Score will be our play, even more so when we can get quotes of Evens (RedZone).
Kosovo have only two clean sheets from their previous eight, those coming versus Malta and Azerbaijan. They’ll take heart from scoring in 13 of their last 14 internationals, however. Their weekend opponents have four clean sheets from their last 14 matches, including last time out when defeating Montenegro. Czech Republic have found the back of the net in 21 of their last 26 fixtures, so they’re good for goals. Getting quotes of Evens is too good to resist.
Iceland v Moldova | Saturday 7th September 2019, 17:00 | Sky Sports
Four games into Group H and it is already starting to have quite an open feel to it. France’s somewhat surprising defeat in Turkey has really changed matters, and we have three nations on nine points, one of which is Iceland, and another on six. No team any longer boasts an unbeaten record, and Iceland are the form country following back-to-back wins.
They would most certainly expect to make it a trio of wins when Moldova are the visitors; a footballing nation in absolute freefall if results are anything to go by. They are only four places short of their worst-ever FIFA ranking
. Their last five victories, which has come over the course of just under four years, have all been against either San Marino or Andorra. Their last win over a higher calibre footballing country was October 2013 when beating Montenegro 5-2 away from home. However, they can only dream of scoring a goal at the moment. A tough night is likely to await them.
Only France have beaten Iceland in this group stage and they’re on something of a rebuilding mission after their Nations League campaign did not go as planned. They was in a group containing Belgium and Switzerland however, so there was no real disgrace in falling short in that sort of company. They have won three of their last four, so confidence levels are beginning to rise again, and you can be sure the Viking Thunder Clap will be loud and proud once more.
Let’s not mince around too much on this one, Iceland are the team to side with here, but slim odds aren’t so appealing. Thankfully they are facing a Moldovan outfit who are struggling beyond belief. They’ve failed to score in 14 of their last 20 matches, and consider they’ve not been facing too many of the greats in that time. Iceland have momentum, Moldova will come looking to sit back and frustrate, but they’re likely to be cut open eventually.
Iceland to win ‘to nil’ is a worthy play for us, especially at odds of 19/20 (Bet Victor). They’ve got three clean sheets in their last five, and they really should be enjoying their first ever meeting with Moldova this weekend. The reality of the matter is that Moldova don’t really have any joy against anyone other than San Marino or Andorra these days. Their squad contains no player that’ll strike fear into Iceland, who of course possess the likes of Gylfi Sigurðsson, who will pull the strings and enjoy time in possession to cause some damage.
France v Albania | Saturday 7th September 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Whilst France lead Group H, their recent away defeat to Turkey meant that there were a few alarm bells in French quarters. Whilst they expectedly followed it up with a big win away in Andorra, it does mean that this vastly talented group have some questions to answer.
The World Cup winners will be minus both Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappé due to injury, but Didier Deschamps does not lack strength in depth, proved by the fact Alexandre Lacazette does not even make the squad.
Albania are a side that they will expect to beat, especially on home soil, but France have only won one of the last three head-to-head renewals dating back to 2014. They’ve won three of their last five internationals, but the reality is that they’ve beat who they should in this group in Andorra and Moldova, whilst coming up short versus Iceland and Turkey.
France being the world champions is again likely to be another stern examination for Edoardo Reja’s team, but they’ll look to be as competitive as they can, for as long as they can.
With the microscope firmly on France as always, they will be expected to get the job done on the night. This is ultimately their tough test of this international period, with another banker with Andorra to come, so the question is what France will turn up on the night. With Pogba and Mbappé out of the picture, it leaves the door open for someone else to stand up and be counted on the night and help get the points in Paris.
Stand up a certain Antoine Griezmann, who of course made a mega money move to Barcelona over the summer. He already has two Barca goals to his name this season, and has two ECQ goals for his country as well.
The 28-year-old will be expected to be among the goals in these next two games, especially with Olivier Giroud likely to play in attack and he could well be a little rusty having not featured as much for Chelsea as he’d have liked. Griezmann has scored in nine of France’s last 14 wins, so he is a decent bet to net again in a France win on Saturday.
Griezmann to score and France win combination is available at 4/5 (Sky Bet), especially with Pogba and Mbappé missing, he is the man who should be delivering the goods.