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Europe World Cup Qualifications, October

spkutano

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spkutano

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Henrikh-Mkhitaryan-Armenia.jpg


Iceland vs Armenia Preview:

Possible starting lineups:

Iceland:
Runarsson; Saevarsson, Hermannsson, Ingi Bjarnason, Thorarinsson; Anderson, Bjarnason, Baldursson, Palsson, Gudmundsson; Gudjohnsen

Armenia:
Yurchenko; Hovhannisyan, Voskanyan, Haroyan, Terteryan; Bayramyan, Zelarayan, Grigoryan, Adamyan; Barseghyan, Mkhitaryan

Iceland welcome Armenia at Laugardalsvollur as both teams are looking for the second place in Group J of the WC 2022 qualifiers. The hosts sit on the fifth position in the group with only four, while Armenia are second with 11 points. This is probably the last chance for the Nordic outfit. They beat poor Liechtenstein, but then lost three in a row. Iceland suffered a 3:0 defeat to Germany, 2:0 to Armenia and 2:0 to Romania. As You could see, they didn't score a single goal on those three matches. Nevertheless, the match against North Macedonia were quite different. It seemed Iceland will suffer another defeat as the Macedonians had 2:0 and fully controlled the match until the 78th minute. However, they equalized in the finish of the match thanks to goals by Ingi Brynjar Bjarnason and Andri Gudjohnsen. It was a crazy finish in which Iceland could scored third goal, but at the same time could conceded too. But just three days later Iceland suffered a high 4:0 defeat to Germany. Coach Arnar Vidarsson must change something as this is the crucial match. Iceland trail the first placed Armenia by seven points and must win this match if they want to see Qatar next year. But Vidarsson is without the experienced Aron Gunnarsson due to injury. In his absence, Birkir Bjarnason, Andri Baldursson and Isak Bergmann Johannesson will start in the midfield. Jon Gudni Fjoluson is also struggling with injury, so Daniel Gretarsson from Blackpool was called to replace him.

Armenia will try to secure the second place in Group J as the first is reserved for Germany. They picked up three straight victories in the first three rounds of the group and everything looked perfect. Armenia won 1:0 in Liechtenstein and then collected 6 points after home victories over Iceland and Romania. Coach Joaquin Caparros was very satisfied, they were first on the table. But September wasn't too good for them. The goalless draw with North Macedonia in Skopje wasn't bad, though the high 6:0 defeat to Germany was a catastrophe. In the last match Armenia dropped two important points against the weakest side in the group Liechtenstein. it was a disappointing result that complicates their chances. It seems the captain Mkhitaryan isn't helpful for the national team - they won three matches in which he didn't played, but failed to win any of the next three in which he played. Of course, I am sure this is just a coincidence and the presence of the most experienced player and leading goalscorer is very important. Caparros has one new name in the squad - attacking midfielder Lucas Zelarayan from Columbus Crew. He is born in Argentina, but his parents have Armenians origins and he decided to play for the Armenian national team.

Iceland vs Armenia Prediction:

I think Armenia are closer to the victory. The motivation is on their side, but not only that. More important, the quality is on their side, too. Iceland have just one win so far, against minnows Liechtenstein. Coach Arnar Vidarsson, who was promoted from U-21 side, is not at desired level. Most probably he will be replaced at the end of the campaign. In the meantime Iceland will continue with poor results. Finally, the key reason for my pick is the fact Armenia have a player that could make a difference in this match - Mkhitaryan.

Iceland vs Armenia Pick: Armenia +0.5 AH @ 1.76 with SBOBET
 

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Liechtenstein vs N.Macedonia Preview:

Possible starting lineups:

Liechtenstein:
B. Buchel; S. Wolfinger, Malin, Kaufmann, Hofer, Goppel; Noah Frick, Frommelt, Hasler; Yanik Frick, Sele

N.Macedonia:
Dimitrievski; Stefan Ristovski, Velkovski, Zajkov, Alioski; Elmas, Nikolov, Spirovski, Churlinov; Milan Ristovski, Trajkovski

Liechtenstein welcome N.Macedonia at the Rheinpark Stadion in Vaduz in the qualifications for the World Cup 2022. The two national teams see the match from different prospective. The hosts are rock-bottom in the group with just one point, while the Macedonians are fighting for the second place with a chance of making their first ever World Cup finals. But Liechtenstein showed they shouldn't be underestimated. After five defeats in a row, they visited second-placed Armenia in the sixth round. Everything looks "normal" after the first half as Armenia had the lead thanks to Henrikh Mkhitaryan's penalty. However, Noah Frick shocked the home fans in Yerevan with his 80th-minute equalizer. All statistic numbers were against Liechtenstein - they have faced 28 shots, with 10 of them on target and managed just 21% of the possession. Nevertheless, it was a big result for the nation that lost all 10 games in the previous qualification campaign. The Blues-Reds are 188th on the FIFA ranking, with Gibraltar and San Marino the only European nations below them. Coach Martin Stocklasa, who's the first Liechtensteiner to take charge of the national team in over 20 years, will try to use the momentum to motivate his players for another success. Stocklasa should continue with five-men defense that worked fine against Armenia. In attack, Yanik Frick, who's currently without a club, will try to upset Stole Dimitrievski.

The Macedonians will try to stay competitive in the battle for the second place in the group. That means they need to win three points in Vaduz. The atmosphere in the national team isn't at highest level after the last results. It seems the momentum is lost after dropping six points on the last three matches. The Macedonians now are on the fourth place with nine points. They beat the worst and the best in Group J - Liechtenstein at home and Germany away. The only defeat came in the match against Romania in Bucuresti, while three draws were all recorded in September. Blagoja Milevski's men shared the points with Armenia and Romania in Skopje, as well as against Iceland. Exactly the last draw was the most disappointing result as the Macedonian players had two-goal advantage thanks to Darko Velkovski and Ezgjan Alioski's strikes. However, the Macedonian defense collapsed in the finish of the match and Iceland equalized the result. Coach Blagoja Milevski, who replaced Igor Angelovski, is lacking an international experience and that could be a big problem. The Macedonian national team are yet to win a match under his helm. Nevertheless, his job is safe so far despite the poor performances. For this match Milevski will be missing three players - Visar Musliu and Tihomir Kostadinov are suspended, while Enis Bardhi is sidelined due to injury. The absence of the mentioned trio is a big handicap for Milevski as he will hardly find adequate replacements.

Liechtenstein vs N.Macedonia Prediction:


The Macedonians are huge favorites against the weakest side in the group. I think the guests will win at the end, though I don't expect a high victory. The reasons are mainly connect with the guests. First of all, Macedonia are yet to win a match under Milevski. And second, three important players are sidelined: Visar Musliu and Tihomir Kostadinov are suspended, while Enis Bardhi is out injured. Liechtenstein should cover the handicap, meaning they won't lose with more than two goals.

Liechtenstein vs N.Macedonia Pick: Liechtenstein +2.5 @ 1.62 with 10bet
 

qpLucas

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Netherlands AH-2,5 @ 1,80

Netherland's attack finally found appetite to score goals (6-1 Turkey, 4-0 Montenegro) and this match will be very important as second Norway travel to Turkey who are third placed atm. Good chance for Oranje to get some extra lead against weak opponent.
 

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2021_Finlandv_Ukraine.jpg


Finland vs Ukraine Preview:


Possible starting lineups:

Finland:
Hradecky; Toivio, Arajuuri, Vaisanen; Alho, Nissila, Kamara, Valakari, Hamalainen; Pukki, Pohjanpalo

Ukraine:
Pyatov; Zabarnyi, Matvienko, Kryvtsov; Karavaev, Sydorchuk, Shaparenko, Sobol; Yarmolenko, Tsygankov; Yaremchuk

Finland face Ukraine in a very interesting match of Group D. Three points from this fixture will see either side much closer to the second position. The first is reserved for France, of course. At the moment both Finland and Ukraine have five points, but White-Blue have a match in hand. Nevertheless, the Scandinavians need a positive result here to remain in the fight. Bosnia and Herzegovina, who have three points, play against the bottom-placed Kazakhstan, so the situation could become more complicated. Finland have one win, one defeat and two draws so far. They shared the points with Bosnia and Ukraine, beat Kazakhstan, but lost 2:0 to France. Coach Markku Kanerva is doing an excellent job and the fans are dreaming about a first-ever appearance at a World Cup Finals. A victory in this match will surely be something to help this dream become a reality. This is a difficult task, but not impossible. Kanerva has some injury and suspension worries ahead of this match. He will be without Rasmus Schuller due to suspension, while Brentford forward Marcus Forss is out injured. Joona Toivio should replace the absent Daniel O'Shaughnessy. Key striker Teemu Pukki is far from his best form, but Kanerva should start with Norwich striker as he has no better option.

Ukraine have five points after they played draw on all five matches. They shared the points with France at home and also in Paris, which is an excellent result. The draw with Finland at home could somehow be swallowed, but two draws against Kazakhstan are simply unacceptable. Dropping four points in two matches against the weakest side Kazakhstan could be a big problem at the end of the campaign. Oleksandr Petrakov's men are unbeaten, but still winless. So far the tally of five draws and five points is enough to see them second on the table, but only thanks to the fact Finland have a worse goal-difference. This situation could easily be changed in opponents' favor, so this match is very important, particuarly knowing they will face Bosnia & Herzegovina in Lviv next week. Ukraine have to register victory as soon as possible. Coach Petrakov has an additional problem as two important players are sidelined - Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City will miss the match through injury, while Atalanta's Ruslan Malinovskyi is another important absentee. The good news is that Mykola Shaparenko finally scored for the national team after a series of 20 matches without goal. Petrakov also need to improve the defense as Ukraine haven't registered a clean sheet on the last eight matches.

Finland vs Ukraine Prediction:


Finland play at home, but I think Ukraine are closer to the victory. The key reason is because Finland have attacking issues. As I already wrote above, Pukki is out of form. He has scored just two goals for Norwich in the new season, one from the penalty. It is no surprise Finland have scored just one goal in two matches played in September. Since I expect their inefficiency to continue, Ukraine could take advantage here. The quality is on their side and they are more experienced as team.

Finland vs Ukraine Pick: Ukraine to win @ 2.35 with Pinnacle
 

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N.Macedonia vs Germany Preview:

Possible starting lineups:

N.Macedonia:
Dimitrievski; Stefan Ristovski, Velkovski, Ristevski, Alioski; Elmas, Kostadinov, Spirovski, Churlinov; Milan Ristovski, Trajkovski

Germany possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Hofmann, Sule, Rudiger, Kehrer; Kimmich, Goretzka; Sane, Muller, Gnabry; Havertz

Second-placed North Macedonia welcome the leaders of Group J, Germany at National Arena Todor Proeski in Skopje. This is important match in the qualifications for the World Cup, important for both national teams. Germany could secure the top of the group which means a direct promotion, while N.Macedonia are looking for the second position and play-off spot. Three victories in the remaining three matches would guarantee runners up finish, but it seems a 'mission impossible' to beat Germany. The Macedonians have just three victories so far, two of them against the bottom-placed Liechtenstein. But the third was obtained against Germany in Duisburg. It was a result that shocked the World, it was Germany’s first home loss in World Cup qualifying since 2001 when they were beaten by England. The now-retired captain Goran Pandev put the underdogs in front before half time and, after an Ilkay Gundogan equalizer from the penalty spot, Eljif Elmas struck in the 85th minute to seal a shocking 2:1 win. But many things have been changed since. Coach Blagoja Milevski replaced Igor Angelovski, while the most experienced players have retired. For this match Milevski has some additional worries as Enis Bardhi is sidelined due to injury. Both Visar Musliu and Tihomir Kostadinov served their one-match ban against Liechtenstein, but the former is doubtful due to injury.

Germany haven't secured the first position and automatic qualification, so they need three points from this match from competitive reasons. Die Mannschaft could book their place at the World Cup on Monday if they win this match and Armenia fail to beat Romania. But not only that - they will be fully motivated for a revenge for the shocking defeat in Duisburg in March. Germany picked up their fourth win in a row last time out when they came from behind to edge out Romania with 2:1. Glasgow Rangers' Ianis Hagi gave Romania a shock lead after just nine minutes and that was the result at the half-time. The fans were afraid of another home failure - just once in the history Germany have won a competitive home game after trailing at half-time, a 4:1 win over Estonia in August 1937. Nevertheless, Serge Gnabry leveled from outside the box in the 52nd minute, while substitute Thomas Muller turned home a late winner at the back post after Leon Goretzka flicked on a corner. Prior to that, Hans-Dieter Flick’s men claimed consecutive victories over Liechtenstein, Armenia and Iceland, scoring 12 goals and conceding none. The atmosphere in the national team is very good, while the players confidence is high. Flick remain without the services of Robin Gosens and Ilkay Gundogan, who are currently recovering from injuries picked up while playing for their clubs. Captain Manuel Neuer skipped the match against Romania due to injury. Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who stepped in on that match, should continue between the sticks in Skopje.

N.Macedonia vs Germany Prediction:

Both coaches enjoyed good start to their time in charge of the national teams. Milevski is yet to lose a match, while Flick has recorded all four victories. It is clear that one of these series will come to their end on Monday night. According to me, Germany should win this match. The quality is on their side, no doubt about that. In addition, they will be fully motivated after suffering a painful defeat in the reverse fixture. I expect Germany to win with at least two goals.

N.Macedonia vs Germany Pick: Germany - 1.5 AH @ 1.62 with Pinnacle
 

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Hagi.jpg


Romania vs Armenia Preview:

Possible starting lineups:

Romania:
Nita; Ratiu, Chiriches, Nedelcearu, Bancu; Stanciu, Nedelcu; Hagi, Cicaldau, Maxim; Puskas

Armenia:
Yurchenko; Hovhannisyan, Voskanyan, Haroyan, Terteryan; Bayramyan, Zelarayan, Grigoryan, Adamyan; Barseghyan, Mkhitaryan

Romania welcome Armenia in a very important match of Group J of the qualifications for World Cup 2022. A victory here will see either side much closer to the second position, as the first is reserved for Germany. Romania are currently fourth with 10 points, two less than Macedonia and Armenia. However, three victories in the remaining three matches virtually guarantee play-off spot as Macedonians have a match with Germany tomorrow. So, the victory here could see the Romanians climbing on the second position, with two relatively "easy" opponents in the last two rounds - Iceland at home and Liechtenstein away. Both rivals have nothing to play for. But the actual form isn't at desired level. They have a draw and defeat on the last two matches. Romania played a goalless draw with N.Macedonia in Skopje and then lost 2:1 to Germany. It was an interesting match in which Ianis Hagi secured a shock lead for his national team after just nine minutes. That was the result at the half-time. Nevertheless, Serge Gnabry leveled from outside the box in the 52nd minute, while substitute Thomas Muller scored a late winner for Germany. Just to mention, Romania were far from their best and had registered just one shot on target for 90 minutes - Hagi's goal in the 9th minute. Coach Mirel Radoi has Dragos Nedelcu back in the squad after the midfielder served the suspension against Germany. That means Razvan Marin or Nicolae Stanciu will drop to the bench in order to make way for him. George Puscas from Reading may continue to lead the line, however he hasn't scored an international goal in almost a year.

Armenia picked up three straight victories in the first three rounds of the group and everything looked amazing. First they obtained an away win at Liechtenstein and then collected six points after winning against Iceland and Romania in Yerevan. The fans were pleased as their national team were first on the table. But the things didn't continue that way in September. The draw with N.Macedonia in Skopje wasn't a bad result, but the next two matches brought disappointing results - high 6:0 defeat to Germany and 1:1 draw with the weakest side in the group Liechtenstein. These two result heavily complicated the situation. Coach Joaquin Caparros took the blame, though his job is safe. The winless series continued on Friday when they dropped another two points against Iceland. Armenia had advantage after the first half thanks to Kamo Hovhannisyan's goal in the 35th minute, but the 18-year-old Isak Bergmann Johannesson equalized in the 77th minute. Caparros has no new injury or suspension worries. The key player and captain Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the only name from the Top-5 leagues. Roma forward is the most experienced player and leading goalscorer in the national team. But there is another player that took the attention - attacking midfielder Lucas Zelarayan from MLS side Columbus Crew. He is born in Argentina, but his parents have Armenians origins and he decided to play for the Armenian national team. Zelarayan marked his debut with an impressive assist for Hovhannisyan's goal. It is clear he will retain his place in the starting eleven.

Romania vs Armenia Prediction:


I think Romania are closer to the victory here. The first and most important reason is the home advantage. But there is another reason - Armenia poor form. They have scored just two goals on the last four matches, one of them from penalty. In other words, Armenia have scored just one goal from open play in the last 360 minutes. Plus, Romania have an excellent H2H record with Armenia, particularly at home - three victories in three games.

Romania vs Armenia Pick
: Romania to win @ 1.68 with 1xBet
 

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2021-Bosna_Dzeko.jpeg


Ukraine vs Bosnia & Herzegovina Preview:


Possible starting lineups:

Ukraine:
Pyatov; Matvienko, Kryvtsov, Zabaryni; Tymchyk, Stepanenko, Shaparenko, Kornienko; Yarmolenko, Tsygankov; Yaremchuk

Bosnia & Herzegovina:
Sehic; Civic, Ahmedhodzic, Kovacevic; Stevanovic, Cimirot, Hadziahmetovic, Gojak, Kolasinac; Dzeko, Prevljak

Ukraine welcome Bosnia & Herzegovina in Lviv as both teams are targeting the second place of Group D. I expect an interesting match and big tactical battle. Ukraine are unbeaten in the qualifications and sit on the second position with two-point advantage over Bosnia and three more than Finland. So, nothing is decided yet and every point is counting, maybe even every goal. Ukraine have eight points after the victory in Finland. Prior to that match, they played draw on all five games. Coach Oleksandr Petrakov's men have shared the points on both matches with France and I think this is a good result. But the draws on both matches against Kazakhstan are simply poor. The other results are "something between". Of course, the victory against Finland four days ago is a good result. Andriy Yarmolenko found the back of the net after just four minutes, but Finland equalized in the 29th minute. Five minutes later Roman Yaremchuk scored the winning goal. I believe the atmosphere in the squad is much better after this result, while the players confidence is higher. Coach Petrakov remain without Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City and Atalanta's Ruslan Malinovskyi through injuries. Mykola Shaparenko, who scored against France, and the goalscorers in Finland - Yarmolenko and Yaremchuk - should start again. Some changes are possible in defense as Ukraine haven't registered a clean sheet on the last nine competitive games.

Bosnia & Herzegovina have six points and sit on the third position. They are two points behind Ukraine, but have a match in hand. Like Ukraine, their first victory came on Saturday when they beat Kazakhstan with 2:0. The Dragons celebrated thanks to the brace scored by Smail Prevljak. The Kazakhs were better side in the opening period and created a chance in the 11th minute. However, the Bosnians took the advantage in the 25th minute, when Stevanovic assisted to Prevljak who's header found the back of the net. In the 51st minute, Edin Dzeko missed a good opportunity as his shot passed next to the goal. Nevertheless, Bosnia scored the second goal in the 66th minute. Dzeko missed the ball on the first post, but Prevljak was in the right place, scoring for 0:2 after receiving the ball. Few minutes later, Dzeko hit the crossbar. Coach Ivaylo Petev has no new injury or suspension worries. Four players that didn't travel to Kazakhstan due to non-issuance of visas - Dennis Hadzikadunic, Elvis Saric, Sanjin Prcic and Dario Djumic - have joined the squad. Petev could stick with the same players that started the game in Nur-Sultan, but some fresh legs could be welcome. Adi Nalic is an option in the midfield.

Ukraine vs Bosnia & Herzegovina Prediction:


I expect both teams to score at Karpaty Stadium in Lviv. Ukraine are coming from a 2:1 win against Finland, while Bosnia won 2:0 in Kazakhstan. The players confidence is higher in both squads. At the same time, both teams have poor defense. Finland are yet to keep clean sheet, while Bosnia have conceded on each game except the last one.

Ukraine vs Bosnia & Herzegovina Pick: Both teams to score - Yes @ 2.05 with 10bet
 

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Neymar.png


Brazil vs Uruguay Preview:

Possible starting lineups:

Brazil:
Alisson; Danilo, Silva, Marquinhos, Sandro; Fred, Fabinho; Raphinha, Neymar, Paqueta; Barbosa

Uruguay:
Muslera; Nandez, Godin, Araujo, Vina; Bentancur, Vecino, Valverde; De la Cruz, Suarez, Rodriguez

Brazil will try to maintain their perfect home record in the qualifications for World Cup 2022 when they welcome Uruguay in Manaus. So far the Selecao have beat Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru, while the match with Argentina was abandon. Tite's men have scored 10 goals in the process, while kept clean sheet on all of them. Overall, they have the best defensive record with just three goals conceded. Brazil had a perfect record until the last round, but dropped their first points against Colombia on Sunday night. It wasn't a best display by the leaders. They had 63% possession, produced five shots on target, but failed to score. Nevertheless, they are comfortable on the first position with six-point advantage over second-placed Argentina. A victory here could bring them a step closer to Qatar. Tite will surely give a "lesson" to his players, but he also has some injury concerns. Real Madrid Casemiro withdraw from October's games due to injury. Eder Militao is rated as doubtful as he suffered a back injury. Most probably he will be replaced with Thiago Silva. Neymar will try to improve his scoring record in the light of his announcement that next year could be his last World Cup. He has scored six goals in this qualification campaign and I am sure he will try to improve this record at any cost. Neymar is just eight goals short of Pele’s all-time goalscoring record.

Uruguay are sharing the third position with Ecuador. Both teams have 16 points, just one more than fifth-placed Colombia. Knowing that only the first four teams go directly to Qatar, while the fifth-placed side will look for a World Cup place through a play-off match, Uruguay are in very complicated situation. They suffered a heavy 3:0 defeat to Argentina few days ago and this match with Brazil couldn’t have come at a worse time for La Celeste. The actual form is poor, Uruguay have collect just one point from their last two fixtures. To be worse, they failed to score a single goal on the mentioned two games and the players confidence isn't high. As I wrote above, Uruguay are just a single point clear of fifth Colombia and could dropped even further if they lose from Brazil, while the Colombians successfully ended their home fixture against Ecuador. And this scenario is very realistic, so Uruguay can not afford another defeat. Coach Oscar Tabarez has one good news as Rodrigo Bentancur has served the suspension and he is available now. Most probably he will earn a place in the starting eleven. But there is a bad news too. Jose Maria Gimenez has returned to Atletico Madrid after suffering a hip injury. Veteran striker Luis Suarez will probably lead the line, while , while Edinson Cavani will likely get a chance as substitute.

Brazil vs Uruguay Prediction:

I think Brazil will win this fixture. The home advantage is between the reasons for my pick. But the overall form of both teams is the main reason for my pick. Brazil have nine victories and one draw so far, with 22 goals scored and just three conceded. Uruguay are never an easy opponents, though they are really poor at the moment. La Celeste are coming to Brazil after they suffered a high 3:0 defeat from Argentina, so the players confidence is questionable.

Brazil vs Uruguay Pick: Brazil to win @ 1.53 with 1xBet
 
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