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Europe EURO 2024 Qualifiers

spkutano

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Georgia vs Scotland Preview:

Possible starting lineups:

Georgia:
Mamardashvili; Mamuchashvili, Lochoshvili, Kashia, Kvirkvelia, Azarovi; Kiteishvili, Kvevkveskiri; Chakvetadze; Mikautadze, Kvaratskhelia

Scotland:
Clark; Hendry, McKenna, Cooper; Patterson, Gilmour, McTominay, Taylor; McGinn, Christie; Dykes

Georgia host Scotland in the UEFA EURO Qualifiers on Thursday evening, with the visitors already secured a top two finish in Group A. The situation in this group is clear as Spain also go to final tournament in Germany. Georgia, meanwhile, will participate in the Play-offs for EURO 2024 due to UEFA Nations League ranking. Coach Willi Sagnol will put the focus on play-off, but this match is also important in term of consistency. As You probably know, the Crusaders have lost 7:1 to Spain in September. Another defeat will have a bad impact to the players confidence, something nobody want at the moment. That is why a positive result from this match is very important. Generally, the home form is solid, Georgia have suffered just a single defeat in their previous 10 straight appearances in Tbilisi – a run that stems all the way back to October 2021. The biggest star in the team is Khvicha Kvaratskhelia from Napoli, a player able to make a difference in any game. The 22-year-old should be joined in the final third by Mikautadze, but Budu Zivzivadze is another option, particularly because Mikautadze has failed to score on the last six matches for his new club Metz. Young 18-year-old Basel midfielder Gabriel Sigua is out due to injury.

As I already wrote above, Scotland have qualified for EURO 2024 and now should play two dead rubber games in the qualifiers. However, it is not the same if they finished as first or second in the group in terms of privileges. At the moment both Spain and Scotland have 15 points and the last two rounds will be decisive. The Tartan Army have started the qualifications with unprecedented five victories and they could count themselves unfortunate to lose in Spain after a highly-debatable goal was disallowed by VAR. Coach Steven Clarke has additional issues as some important players are injured. Che Adams withdrew from the national team after suffering a knock playing for Southampton. Hearts attacker Lawrence Shankland has been called as replacement. The influential skipper Andy Robertson is sidelined with a shoulder injury sustained against Spain last month. Keeper Angus Gunn, Kieran Tierney and Aaron Hickey are also injured.

Georgia vs Scotland Prediction:


I expect both teams to score at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena in Tbilisi. Georgia have a poor defense, they have conceded seven goals from Spain, two from Norway and another two from Scotland in the reverse fixture. However, Georgia have scored in each of their last four games in all competitions, including the friendly match with Thailand which they won 8:0. Georgia could finally find the target this time around at home, particularly because Scotland will be missing the key defender Andy Robertson.

Georgia vs Scotland Pick:
Both teams to score - Yes @ 1.85 with Pinnacle
 
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Luxembourg vs Bosnia-Herzegovina Preview:

Possible starting lineups:

Luxembourg :
Moris; Jans, Gerson, Chanot, Martins; V. Thill, Barreiro Martins, Martins Pereira, S. Thill; Sinani, Rodrigues

Bosnia-Herzegovina:
Vasilj; Dedic, Hadzikadunic, Kovacevic, Gazibegovic; Hadziahmetovic, Cimirot, Krunic; Stevanovic, Demirovic, Tahirovic

Luxembourg will host Bosnia-Herzedgovina on Thursday, knowing they need victory in order to keep their prospects of automatic qualification alive. Nobody was expecting the European minnows to be competitive at this stage. I agree that positive result against Liechtenstein wasn't a surprise, but everything else could be evaluated as big success. That includes a 2:0 away win at Bosnia-Herzegovina and a 3:1 win against Iceland, as well as the goalless draw with Slovakia in Bratislava. Of course, some results in the group were poor, like the defeats from Portugal. Luxembourg lost 6:0 at home and 9:0 away. However, Luxembourg have a "Plan B" - Nations League. With Turkey already qualified, Luxembourg are guaranteed a play-off spot in Path C where they will probably face Georgia in a semi-final. Nevertheless, Luxembourg will try to win the remaining group fixtures, hoping that the other results will be on their side. What is interesting, brothers Sebastien Thill, Vincent Thill and Olivier Thill could all start in midfield, with Yvandro Borges Sanches out injured. Eldin Dzogovic is also absent from the squad, but Holtz has called up two other ethnic Bosnians - Edvin Muratovic and Enes Mahmutovic.

Bosnia-Herzegovina sit on the fifth place at the moment, seven points behind second-placed Slovakia on the same number of matches. Considering there are only two more rounds to be played, the Bosnians have no chance for top-two finish. They were very inconsistent and that's the main reason for the poor display. Furthermore, the Federation officials made the matters worse with the frequent coaching changes. Bosnia started the campaign under Faruk Hadzibegic, but three defeats in the first four rounds were enough to trigger the first change. Meho Kodro was appointed in August, but he was sacked after just two qualifying matches. In the meantime the former Serbian striker Savo Milosevic was established as new coach. He was an excellent player, but the same couldn't be said as coach. Milosevic will be missing the key players Edin Dzeko, Sead Kolasinac and Miralem Pjanic. The absence of the three most experienced players is a huge handicap, but there is more. Defenders Anel Ahmedhodzic and Adrian Leon Barisic are out injured. To be worse, goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic is not in the squad, so Nikola Vasilj is expected to start as No 1. Striker Kenan Kodro announced his international retirement following the tension between his father and the Football Federation in September. As I already wrote, Meho Kodro was sacked just two months after his appointment.

Luxembourg vs Bosnia-Herzegovina Prediction:


No nation in Europe has played more qualifications than Luxembourg, without ever featuring at a major tournament. That is why the fans are exciting with Luc Holtz and his work. Many believe he is a coach able to change the things. His Bosnian counterpart Savo Milosevic decided to rest his biggest stars Dzeko, Pjanic and Kolasinac as the result from this match is irrelevant for Bosnia-Herzegovina. Luxembourg are closer to the victory.

Luxembourg vs Bosnia-Herzegovina Pick: Luxembourg to win @ 2.76 with Pinnacle
 
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Italy vs N.Macedonia Preview:

Possible starting lineups:

Italy:
Donnarumma; Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni, Dimarco; Barella, Jorginho, Frattesi; Berardi, Scamacca, Chiesa

N.Macedonia:
Dimitrievski; Manev, Musliu, Serafimov; Ashkovski, Ademi, Atanasov, Alioski; Bardhi, Elmas; Curlinov

Italy will try to collect important three points against the Macedonian national team at Stadio Olimpico on Friday. England have secured the first place and ticket for EURO 2024, while Italy and Ukraine are fighting for the second place. At the moment Italy sit third in Group C, three points behind Ukraine, but with a game in hand. Even with a win against Macedonia, the Azzurri will likely need to avoid defeat against Ukraine in their final game of the groups if they are to qualify automatically. But on other side, failure to collect three points here would require Italy to defeat Ukraine on the final matchday to finish in the top two, otherwise Spalletti's men must go to another playoff campaign to book their tickets to Germany.

Italy were inconsistent under Roberto Mancini, but nothing dramatic have improved since Luciano Spalletti took the national team. One draw, two wins and one defeat is his record after the first four matches. The bad pitch have been blamed as main reason for poor display in Skopje where Italy shared the points with Macedonia. In the next period Italy managed to beat Ukraine and Malta at home, but lost to England at Wembley. Spalletti has lot of issues ahead of this match. Most probably he has lost his key defender Alessandro Bastoni after the 24-year-old player injured his calf muscle. According to Sky Sport Italia, the Inter player will undergo a medical examination, which will determine the severity of the injury. Earlier, Manuel Locatelli, Alex Meret, Raffaele Toloi and Davide Calabria were sent to the infirmary of the Italian national team. That's not all as Giovanni Di Lorenzo is suspended due to accumulated yellow cards, while Sandro Tonali is serving his 8-month ban for illegal gambling activities. Three defenders involved in October's clashes - Destiny Udogie, Gianluca Mancini and Giorgio Scalvini - are all absent too.

N.Macedonia have secured a historic appearance at EURO 2020, but failed to make back-to-back participation on the major European tournament. According to me, the reason is simple - they were unlucky to receive a very tough opponents like England, Italy and Ukraine. Coach Blagoja Milevski's men have collected just seven points from the possible 18 ahead. They beat Malta, both home and away and played an 1:1 draw with Italy in Skopje. Unfortunately, the Macedonians have no Nations League back-up this time. In other words, the actual campaign come to its end with Monday's match against England. Nevertheless, I am sure the players will enter the last two group matches fully motivated. Most of them are ready, but the hero from Palermo Aleksandar Trajkovski has not recovered from muscular injury he suffered playing for Hajduk Split. Dorian Babunski and veteran striker Ilija Nestorovski were not called this time, as well as Stefan Ristovski.

Italy vs N.Macedonia Prediction:

Italy are huge favorites against the Macedonian national team. First of all, the home advantage should not be underestimated. The Azzurri have only lost one home Euros qualifier since the turn of the millennium. But that doesn't count when the opponents are Macedonian players and coach Blagoja Milevski. They already shocked the Italians in March 2022. No Italian fan, young or old, has forget the defeat in Palermo, when Aleksandar Trajkovski scored in the finish of the match. The Lynxes had only 34% possession and just four shots over 90 minutes, but they took their opportunity against the run of play clinically. Gianluigi Donnarumma had virtually nothing to do until the stoppage time, but he was too slow to react to Trajkovski's long-ranged shot. But that's a history, lets focus on the current match. As I wrote above, Italy are huge favorites against the Macedonian national team, but it won't be easy again. I don't expect a high victory for Italy. Free from pressure, the Macedonians could upset the hosts again.

Italy vs N.Macedonia Pick:
N.Macedonia +2.5 AH @ 1.63 with Pinnacle
 
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Latvia vs Croatia Preview:

Possible starting lineups:

Latvia:
Ozols; Savalnieks, Balodis, Dubra, Sorokins; Tobers, Savaljevs; Jaunzems, J. Ikaunieks, Daskevics; Uldrikis

Croatia:
Livakovic; Stanisic, Sutalo, Vida, Gvardiol; Modric, Brozovic, Majer; Pasalic, Kramaric, Ivanusec

Latvia will host Croatia at Skonto Stadium in Riga in EURO 2024 qualifying. They are part of Group D in which Turkey secured the first place, while Wales and Croatia are fighting for the second. Of course, Armenia should not be ignored as far as they have mathematical chances. Latvia are at the bottom with six defeats from seven matches. The lone victory was obtain against Armenia last month. I watched the game and I must admit I was impressed. Coach Dainis Kazakevics prepared his players very good and they surprised the favorites. The lost points from that match will probably cost Armenia the ticket for Germany, even they are still in the mix for a top-two finish. Janis Ikaunieks scored the first goal in the 39th minute, while Daniels Balodis doubled the lead in the 68th minute. Latvia played most of the second half with 10 men as Marcis Oss was sent off in the 52nd minute. He served his suspension against Turkey and now is available, but Eduards Emsis is now banned due to accumulated yellow cards. Striker Vladislavs Gutkovskis remain out due to a long-term knee injury.

Croatia were dominated the group after the first four rounds. They dropped two points against Wales in the opening match, but then recorded three victories in a row. One of them was a high 5:0 win against Latvia, while the other two were obtained away at Turkey and Armenia, direct opponents for the first two spots in the group. And just when everything looked "blue", Croatia suffered two defeats and complicate the matters. They lost 1:0 to Turkey in Osijek and that was their first ever home defeat for Croatia. Three days later they were humiliated in Cardiff, losing 2:1 from Wales. Coach Zlaatko Dalic came under big pressure, as well as the players, including the captain Luka Modric. Many football experts in Croatia said it's a perfect time for young players to be introduced in the national team. However, coach Zlatko Dalic will continue with his most experienced player in the midfield, particularly because Mateo Kovacic is rated as doubtful due to a muscular problem. Bruno Petkovic and Nikola Vlasic have withdrawn due to injury, while Ivan Perisic remains long-term injury victim.

Latvia vs Croatia Prediction:


Croatia won 5:0 the reverse fixture played in September and they are big favorites again. Only this time will be much harder. Latvia play at home and they will be supported by their fans. In addition, the atmosphere in the Croatian squad is far from ideal after the last month's defeats. They are World Cup finalists in 2018 and bronze medalists in Qatar last year, but it is obvious they are in crisis. The players confidence is low at the moment and this is the biggest problem for coach Dalic. On contrary, the Latvian players are flying high after they obtained the first victory against Armenia last month. Latvia will not give up easily, so I will suggest a low scoring match in Riga. According to me, there should be no more than three goals.

Latvia vs Croatia Pick: Under 3.5 goals @ 1.59 with Pinnacle
 
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Ukraine vs Italy Preview:

Possible starting lineups:

Ukraine:
Trubin; Karavaev, Zabarnyi, Matvienko, Mykolenko; Sydorchuk, Zinchenko; Konoplya, Sudakov, Mudryk; Dovbyk

Italy:
Donnarumma; Darmian, Gatti, Acerbi, Dimarco; Barella, Jorginho, Bonaventura; Berardi, Raspadori, Chiesa

The culmination in Group C will be on Monday night. Ukraine will host Italy at BayArena in Leverkusen in the direct clash for the second place in the group and a spot in next summer's European Championship. England are definitely first with 19 points and they travel to Skopje relaxed, while Macedonia and Malta have no chance anymore. Interesting, both Italy and Ukraine have 13 points. The Azzurri will qualify if they avoid defeat to Ukraine thanks to the better H2H record. On the other side the Ukrainians would book their spot in the finals only with a victory. Due to the war with Russia, this match will be played in Germany, so no home advantage for the Serhiy Rebrov's men.

Ukraine were dominant in the matches with Macedonia and Malta. They have collected maximal 12 points from those four matches, but the results against England and Italy were not equally good. They lost both matches played on road, while took a point in a 1:1 home draw with England. Nevertheless, everything depend on this game. If Ukraine win, they will go to EURO 2024 and Rebrov will be a national hero. Every other scenario would probably mean his change. Most of his key players are ready for this clash, including the Premier League stars Mykhaylo Mudryk from Chelsea, captain Oleksandr Zinchenko from Arsenal, Vitalii Mykolenko from Everton and Illya Zabarnyi from Bournemouth. Striker Artem Dovbyk was relatively unknown last season, but now took attention because his Girona are leaders in La Liga. Dovbuk are the club leading scorer with 11 goals to his name - scored seven and assisted four.

Italy showed their class against the Macedonians on Friday. The side that produced so many problems in the past were outplayed and beaten 5:2. The Azzurri were furious in the first half when they netted three goals. Matteo Darmian opened the scoring in the 17th minute, while Federico Chiesa double in the finish made it 3:0. Just to mention, Jorginho missed a penalty. And just when everybody thought the match is decided, Jani Atanasov scored twice for 3:2. Spaletti was surely under huge pressure in that moment, but Giacomo Raspadori and Stephan El Shaarawy wrapped up the win. Spalletti has no new injury or suspension worries and could select the same XI that took to the field for the first whistle against the Macedonian national team on Friday. Federico Chiesa and Giacomo Raspadori, both scorers on that match, should continue in the attack together with Domenico Berardi. The long injury list is surely a problem for Spaletti.

Ukraine vs Italy Preview:


I expect an efficient match here. Ukraine have no space for calculations, they could finish second only with a victory. Italy, meanwhile, have lot of injured players, particularly in defense - Alessandro Bastoni, Manuel Locatelli, Alex Meret, Raffaele Toloi and Davide Calabria are struggling with injuries. Three defenders involved in October's matches - Destiny Udogie, Gianluca Mancini and Giorgio Scalvini - are now absent. It wasn't a big surprise to see Macedonia scoring twice at Olimpico. As I wrote above, Italy won 5:2 on Friday. I don't expect seven goals again, but at least three should be scored.

Lkraine vs Italy Prediction
: Over 2.5 goals @ 2.04 with Pinnacle
 
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Croatia vs Armenia Preview:

Possible starting lineups:

Croatia:
Livakovic; Stanisic, Sutalo, Erlic, Gvardiol; Modric, Brozovic, Majer; Pasalic, Kramaric, Ivanusec

Armenia:
Cancarevic; Dashyan, Calisir, Voskanyan, Arutyunyan, Tiknizyan; Sevikyan, Iwu, Spertsyan, Zelarayan; Ranos

Croatia will try to register the crucial victory when they welcome Armenia to the Stadion Maksimir on Tuesday night. There aren't many permutations in Group C ahead of the last round - Turkey are definitely first, while Croatia and Wales are looking for the second spot. Armenia and Latvia play only for pride. Zlatko Dalic's men are World Cup finalists from 2018 and bronze medalists in Qatar last year. The last month was awful for them as they lost at home to Turkey and also lost to Wales in Cardiff. Dalic and his players came under heavy pressure, but the victory against Latvia and Wales' draw with Armenia were exactly what they needed. The atmosphere in the national team is much better as everything is in their hands again. A victory in this match guarantees the second spot in the group which means a ticket for EURO 2024. Croatia could qualify even without the victory, they only need to match the result of Wales. But Dalic has some injury worries as Manchester City midfielder Mateo Kovacic withdrew from the national team after suffering another setback with his recurring quad problem. His absence is a huge handicap. Bruno Petkovic and Nikola Vlasic are also out injured, while Ivan Perisic is a long-term absentee.

Armenia have no chance for the second place as they have eight points, five less than Croatia. The Saturday's draw with Wales was a perfect outcome for Croatia. Armenia beat Wales 4:2 in Cardiff previously and the fans were hoping of another success. The start of the match was excellent, Lucas Zelarayan gave Armenia a lead after just five minutes. The hosts dominated the game in the first half, they even hit the woodwork, but failed to score another one. The result remained until the first-half stoppage time when the Dragons equalized the result. Once again it was Armenian player who scored, but this time in wrong net, as an own goal from Nair Tiknizyan cancelled out Zelarayan's opener. The fans weren't satisfied with the result and Ukrainian coach Oleksandr Petrakov is under heavy pressure. Because of that, he badly need a positive result from Zagreb. It is clear Armenia are inconsistent when play away from home. They suffered a 2:0 loss to Latvia in Riga, but managed to beat Wales in Cardiff and, shared the points with Turkey in Istanbul. Croatia should not underestimate them. Coach Petrakov will play with two strikers. Two "foreigners" will be in the final third: Argentina-born Lucas Zelarayan alongside Borussia Monchengladbach striker Grant-Leon Ranos, who was born and raised in Germany but decided to get Armenian passport earlier this year. The guests will be without captain Varazdat Haroyan. He is suspended due to accumulated yellow cards.

Croatia vs Armenia Prediction:


Croatia doesn't necessary need a victory here, they only need to match the result of Wales. But it could be dangerous to calculate, victory here is the safest option. Coach Zlatko Dalic and his players are wee aware about that, I believe they will strongly attack from the first minute. Although Armenia have little left to play for, they have proven themselves tough opponents throughout the campaign, particularly away from home. Armenia managed to score in Cardiff and Istanbul and it won't be a big surprise if they find the back of the net in Zagreb too. But even if they don't score, there is a possibility Croatia to net three. I expect an efficient match with at least three goals.

Croatia vs Armenia Pick: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.61 with Pinnacle
 
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