Euro 2020 Qualifying: Iceland to conclude campaign on a high


EURO 2020 qualifying continues on Sunday and Chris Bland (@blandc_1996) is on-hand to share his favourite selections from matches not involving the Home Nations.

Moldova v Iceland | Sunday 17th November 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports

Iceland travel to Moldova on Sunday looking to overcome the disappointment of missing out on qualification for Euro 2020 after a 0-0 draw with Turkey on Thursday. It took a goalline clearance late on from Merih Demiral to deny them the three points, and they will be expecting to end the campaign on a high.

Moldova surprised many by taking the league against a disappointing French side, before eventually being undone 2-1 by Olivier Giroud’s penalty. It was only the third goal of the qualifying campaign for a Moldovan side who had the ignominy of being beaten by Andorra in the last round of fixtures.

Although Moldova’s performance on Thursday will give them a level of confidence, it’s hard to support anything other than an Icelandic victory on Sunday night.

Iceland proved their defensive resilience once again against Turkey, and despite conceding 10 goals in the campaign, eight came across two games with France and Albania, and they have otherwise been relatively sound at the back. Wins against Moldova and Andorra have come ‘to nil’, and they won the reverse fixture 3-0.

Moldova themselves ended a run of five competitive games without a goal by netting against France, but it’s worth noting that this came from an uncharacteristic mistake from Clement Llenget in a game where Moldova created very little.

It’s hard to see the minnows causing the well-drilled defensive unit of Iceland too many problems. Priced at 5/4 (BetVictor), Iceland to win without conceding takes a fancy, and they’ll be keen to avoid embarrassment following Thursday’s disappointing result.

Serbia v Ukraine | Sunday 17th November 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports

Serbia host Ukraine knowing they must win against already-qualified table-toppers Ukraine and hope Portugal slip up at Luxembourg. The reverse fixture finished 5-0 in Ukraine, and Andrey Shevchenko’s side will be hoping for a similar outcome in the Stadion Rajko Mitic.

Both sides have injury worries to contend with heading into this tie, with Nemanja Matic and Filip Kostic amongst those missing for Serbia, whilst Ukraine are without Junior Moraes, Marlos and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Serbia come into the game on the back of a 3-2 win over Luxembourg where Aleksandar Mitrovic netted twice to keep their faint qualification hopes alive, however their defensive vulnerabilities were highlighted by allowing the Luxembourgers to score twice.

Ukraine themselves have shown to have an excellent defence throughout the qualification campaign, only conceding twice and only failing to win once in an away draw at Portugal. Having had a friendly to experiment, where they came out on top against Estonia, Shevchenko is expected to revert back to his full-strength side and end the campaign on a high.

As a result, it is hard to get behind Serbia who are priced at 7/10 to win in some places. Ruslan Malinovskiy is amongst those expected to return for Ukraine, and his attacking influence will be key in a side missing Moraes and Marlos.

With Ukraine well suited to defend and Serbia potentially having to chase the game, gaps will appear for Ukraine on the counter, and given their ability to frustrate sides for long periods, it would be no surprise to see them pick off the Serbian defence on the break as the game wears on.

However, simply backing the Ukrainians not to lose takes appeal at 23/20 (Boylesports), and with the pressure on Serbia to perform to give them any hope, the Ukrainians will thrive in these circumstances.

Furthermore, ff news is to filter through from Luxembourg of the expected dominance from Portugal, the game could quickly become a dead rubber, and make Ukraine an even more promising prospect.

Best Bets

Moldova v Iceland – Iceland to win ‘to nil’ (5/4 BetVictor)

Serbia v Ukraine – Ukraine double chance (23/20 Boylesports)

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