The second round of the opening Euro 2020 Qualifiers gets underway today with some mouth-watering matches in prospect. The pick of the bunch is the Holland vs Germany with a rich tapestry woven in this derby game where no quarter is given.
Scotland look to recover from the humiliating defeat in Kazakhstan last week with a trip to San Marino. If they don’t win that, surely, they may as well withdraw from the whole qualifying competition?
Wales, meanwhile, hope to kick-off their campaign in style with a win over a Slovakia side which netted three points in a comfortable 2 – 0 home victory over Hungary.
Holland vs Germany
Since failing to qualify for their second successive major tournament, Dutch football is undergoing a renaissance. Two defeats in 13 matches (W7, D4) is their best run of form in some time.
Included in that run was a 2 – 2 draw in Gelsenkirchen which saw Germany throw away a two-goal lead with five minutes to go. There is a durability about Ronald Koeman’s side which was previously missing.
And no Dutch fan is going to forget Germany’s last trip to Amsterdam when they were routed 3 – 0.
Germany’s form going into this match is poor with two wins in seven (D3, L2). The problems which beset their World Cup finals and Nations League remain unsolved although their home form is relatively strong (W2, D3); it’s a shame this is an away match.
As the Netherlands kicked off their Euro2020 qualifying campaign with a 4 – 0 win over Belarus, Germany found themselves held by Serbia in a 1 – 1 draw with Serbia. It proved costly; Leroy Sane’s ankle was crushed by Milan Pavkov, which led to the Serbian seeing red.
Wales vs Slovakia
Wales laboured to a 1 – 0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago at Wrexham last week but Ryan Giggs expects more of his team today. A much-changed line-up is expected with Gareth Bale among those set to be recalled but not Aaron Ramsey. The Arsenal midfielder returned to north London yesterday after a thigh injury ruled him out of the game.
It’s been a mixed year for the Welsh. The thumping 4 – 1 win over Ireland is a distant memory lost in the dark shadow of four defeats (W2). The nadir came in November with a single-goal loss in Albania. Anything is up from there.
They face a Slovakia side which won its opening match against Hungary 2 – 0, to take them to one defeat in four (W2, D1). Hearteningly for Giggs, Slovakia lost twice on British soil during the World Cup qualifying campaign (0 – 3 vs England, 1 – 2 vs Scotland) and are winless in their last six away matches to European opposition (D1, L5).
San Marino vs Scotland
Before a ball was kicked last week, Alex McLeish envisaged a nightmare scenario of four points out of six. A warning that taking three out of six might be tougher than he thought came with the Republic of Ireland’s laborious win in Gibraltar.
The Scots have lost four of seven (W3) and five of the last nine on the road (W3, D1).
Goals are pretty much guaranteed when they take the field with six of the last seven featuring over 2.5 goals with four of those seeing 3.5 goals or more.
This is the Scots fourth venture into Serravalle with each of the previous three ending 2 – 0 in their favour. This is a fixture which has brought rare joy to the Scots; played six, all won without conceding a draw. It’s a history, however, which has little relevance today. The nations last met 19 years ago with the Scots are a very different proposition now.
It’s been a tough year for the hosts. Seven defeats, all without scoring. Even Luxembourg strolled into town and took away a 3 – 0 win. In all, it’s a 27-game run of defeats in which the Sammarinese scored just two goals, neither of which was at home.
There’s little reason for Scotland to be overconfident. However, with a lot to prove to their supporters, this has the makings of a comfortable win.
Euro2020 Qualifiers: Our TipsEuro
Holland vs Germany: Holland to win @ 37/25 with Novibet!
Wales vs Slovakia: Over 3.5 goals in total @ 33/20 with Novibet!
Scotland vs San Marino: Scotland to win and Under 3.5 goals @ 8/5 with Novibet!
Our three tips could give you Accumulator odds of 65/4 with Novibet!