Euro 2020 Qualifying: In-form Israeli to dispatch Latvia

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

Israel v Latvia | Tuesday 15th October 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports

Israel must win this Group G encounter to keep their extremely thin and bordering on impossible hopes of a top-two finish in the group alive. Losing to Poland, Slovenia and most recently Austria, all of whom are above them in the group, means that they’re probably hoping for third position at best. They should fancy their chances of gaining three points at home to Latvia.

Why is that? Well, Latvia are possible one of the worst international teams around these days. That is most certainly reflected by their form, or lack of. They haven’t won since a Baltic Cup clash with Estonia all the way back in June 2018. Since then, it has been five draws and ten losses. Two of those draws came against Andorra, and they’ve lost the last seven in a row, scoring just one and conceding a whopping 24.

Israel aren’t necessarily known for picking up too many wins on the road on the international scene, but they still managed to despatch the Latvians 3-0 earlier in the group stage. That fact alone is a fair reflection on the gulf in class between these two nations on a footballing scale.

Israel may be winless in their last four, but they did alright in their Nations League group and started this campaign quite well, so they’re hardly in freefall and Poland away was the only time they’ve been humbly defeated of late.

Something many of a football betting interest will undoubtedly be aware of a certain striker in the Israeli ranks that is known for scoring goals for fun, not just internationally but for his domestic club as well.

Eran Zahavi honestly is one of my favourite players around. The reason? He just keeps on scoring! He is the top scorer in the Chinese Super League for Guangzhou R&F with 26, some ten more than the chasing pack. He is also top scorer in Euro 2020 qualification with ten. Even at 32, the guy is banging them in for fun.

His numbers are highlighted further by the fact he has only failed to score in SEVEN club or country games that he has played in since last October. Also, he fired in a hat-trick when facing Latvia earlier in the group. If Israel score, then there is an unbelievably high chance that this man has scored the goal.

With that being the case, I have to get him on side. His odds are understandably quite reduced taking his record into account, so rather than anytime scorer we’ll back him to net first in an Israel win. This pays 7/4 (Bet365). He has scored 11 of Israel’s last 13 goals.

Sweden v Spain | Tuesday 15th October 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports

We’re reaching the end game in Group F and there is a top-two clash that takes centre stage before everyone departs back to their respective clubs. Spain lead the way on 19 points, where they remain unbeaten, and travel to a Sweden team some five-points behind but only been beaten once in seven.

Just a solitary point for the Spaniards will be enough to confirm their top-two position, but you just known they’ll strive for maximum points given the talent they have at their disposal. Romania and Norway are placed third and fourth respectively and meet off, so Sweden know the potential importance of gaining a bit of a shock win here. In reality, they’d most likely take a draw from this, but they may keep half an eye on proceedings elsewhere.

Last time out was actually the first time in the group that Spain dropped points, as a very, very late Josh King penalty earned Norway a home draw versus Spain. Whilst it was a blow,

Spain remain firmly in control of the group and they’ve won 10 of 13 games since departing the last World Cup in disappointing fashion against host nation Russia. They remain in good form from a winning perspective, but is there possibility a vulnerability that Sweden could explore? Just maybe.

Sweden are going pretty well themselves having lost just two of their last 13 matches, one was against Spain and the other was a friendly versus Finland where experimental line-ups were named. They’re in good form but it is tough to really judge them when they’re beating the likes of Malta, but they’ve have beaten Turkey away, Russia and Romania at home, and also earned draws with Norway. They’re certainly competitive, but they’ve only faced one truly top side of late in the form of Spain, and they were quite easily beaten.

There is some hope for Sweden going into this game however, at least in relation to scoring. That is because Spain aren’t as secure defensively as many would think. They have conceded a goal in 15 of their last 22 games, including against Norway (twice), Romania and even the Faroe Islands in this group. Spain have been rotating their team quite a lot in recent times, and whilst they have quality in reserve, making alterations could disrupt them.

I couldn’t back Sweden for the win, or even a draw necessarily, considering Spain really are superior in every department. However, I am prepared to entertain the thought of Both Teams To Score, even more so when a price of 10/11 (Sport Nation) is available.

We know Spain can ship a goal, and for all that Sweden get the majority of their points in home games, they only have two clean sheets in their last nine internationals at home.

Best Bets

Israel v Latvia – Israel to win and Eran Zahavi to score first (7/4 Bet365)

Sweden v Spain – Both Teams To Score (10/11 Sport Nation)

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