WITH no major domestic football across the continent, Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) scours the European Championship 2016 qualifying coupon to search for value winners this week…
Austria v Sweden | 8th September 2014 (19.45)
Austria have really come of age as a footballing nation again in the past two years. Coach Marcel Koller has been there since 2011 so they know exactly what they’re trying to achieve and that’s to play attractive, high-intensity fast-paced counter-attacking football. They’ve not reached a European Championship which they haven’t hosted before in their history and there’s belief that the current crop can end that wait after been drawn alongside Russia, Sweden, Montenegro, Moldova and Liechtenstein
But we’re looking at a Both Teams To Score bet so let’s look at their trends; in the past two years Austria have scored in 16/21 games and kept eight clean sheets. In their World Cup qualifiers they scored in 7/10 – including 5/5 in Vienna. They kept 5/10 clean sheets in those qualifiers but four of them came against the minnows of Kazakhstan and Faroe Islands.
As for the Swedes; their goals records are quite sensational. I went back to 2009 and they’ve scored in 50/61 games and there most notable clean sheet in the past few years was against France at Euro 2012 or in friendlies against Iceland and Ireland. They’ve only kept 3/14 clean sheets now and 4/5 away World Cup qualifiers saw Both Teams Score with 19 goals in those 5 games including that stunning 4-4 at Germany.
Both teams World Cup qualifiers averaged over 3 goals-a-game so back Both Teams To Score at odds-against.
Greece v Romania | 7th September 2014 (19.45) |
The Greeks are now under new management with Claudio Ranieri in charge following Fernando Santos’ departure after what was deemed a successful World Cup. I’m a big fan of the Greek team – including the World Cup, they’ve only lost four of their last 30 competitive matches and if Santos’ hadn’t gone, they’d be odds-on here.
You’d expect Ranieri to try and replicate Santos’ job of playing to their strengths but looking into this game I came across Greece’s stunning home record – since September 2002, Greece have Won 25 Drew 4 Lost 3 of their last 32 competitive home games, including 18 clean sheets! In their World Cup qualifying campaign they Won 5 Drew 1 in Athens, including a 3-1 play-off victory against Romania – the only time they failed to record a shutout. And their last competitive home defeat was 2008 against Switzerland!
Romania did record three wins away in World Cup qualifying (v Andorra, Estonia and more impressively at Turkey). But that win away at Turkey is their only notable road victory since the turn of the century. Their best other away wins were against minnows or the likes of Slovenia, Finland and Hungary.
I’m really intrigued to see how Ranieri gets on but with those stats onside, I can’t resist a little bet on Greece.
Austria v Sweden – Both Teams To Score (42/41 Coral)
Greece v Romania – Greece to win (21/20 William Hill)