This coming week sees a break in the domestic football season as the international teams convene once again to put themselves to the test. In Europe, this means that the next two matchdays of Euro 2020 Qualifiers will take place, as well as a number of international friendly games for teams that have one free date over the break.
As always, the break is split into two sections. Matchday five takes place from Thursday through to Saturday this week and then Matchday six follows on immediately from Sunday through to Tuesday evening. For the purposes of this article, and due to the fact that the odds on the Matchday Six games at most bookmakers won’t be published until the first games are played, we are focusing primarily on the games taking place on Matchday 5.
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Let’s now take a look at some of the big games coming up over Matchday 5 of the Euro 2020 Qualifiers.
Matchday 5 Big Games – Thu 5th to Sat 7th September
Thursday 5th September
- Republic of Ireland v Switzerland
Ireland currently top Group D with three wins from four games and a draw in the other and they face a Switzerland side who have four points, six behind the Irish, but with two games in hand. With Denmark sitting in between the two, this is a key game for both teams and I have no doubt both will be desperate to avoid defeat here. I can’t see there being too many goals as goalscoring is a key issue for both teams and as such, I strongly fancy this one ending scoreless. Tip – 0-0 Draw (11/2)
- Romania v Spain
The top two in Group F will meet in Bucharest on Thursday night in what should be an intriguing game in a tough group. Sweden and Norway will be hoping Spain can secure a win here to enhance their prospects of a second place finish in the group and I think their wishes will be fulfilled. Romania are tough to beat on home soil, but Spain have such a talented squad and group of players that I think they are often at their best away from home playing on the break. Tip – Spain to win 2-0 (11/2)
Friday 6th September
- Germany v Holland
These two teams last met back in March when a last minute goal handed Germany a 3-2 victory over the Dutch in what was a pulsating game. The Germans are now the clear favourites to win this second match being played on Germany soil, but I think the Dutch are capable of springing a surprise. I would like their chances more if they had a better quality of attacker, but even so, I still feel the Dutch will do enough to earn a draw from this encounter. Tip – 2-2 Draw (11/1).
- Scotland v Russia
After a nightmare start against Kazakhstan, Scotland have won two of their last three in the group but they now face two crucial home games in the space of a few days against the big guns in the group starting here with Russia. Steve Clarke’s squad is relatively inexperienced at this level and the Russian team, who seem to have kicked on from the 2018 World Cup will fancy their chances here and I do think this is going to be a tough evening for Scotland fans. Tip – Russia to win 2-1 (10/1).
- Wales v Azerbaijan
Wales have been drawn the short straw in this qualifying campaign as they have been drawn into a very tough Group E which includes Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia as well as Azerbaijan. After one win in three games, with two defeats, the Welsh badly need a win at home against the bottom team in the group and with Gareth Bale seemingly back in form and back in favour at Real Madrid, I fancy them to get it. Azerbaijan will make things tough for the Welsh, they are no pushovers, but I still fancy Wales to emerge with the win. Tip – Wales to win 2-0 (4/1).
Saturday 7th September
- England v Bulgaria
After two excellent perfromances in their opening two games in qualifying, scoring ten goals in the process, England top Group A despite only having played two games and I expect Gareth Southgate’s team to add another three points to the total here with a solid win over an out of sorts Bulgaria team. The recent for of Krasimir Balakov’s team is very poor and their record against England (0 wins and 4 draws in 10 games, with just 2 goals scored) is very poor. England should win this one well. Tip – England to win 3-0 (4/1).
- Serbia v Portugal
This Group B game is an important one as both teams have games in hand over the Ukraine at the top of the table, but Ukraine seem to have a big advantage, six points ahead of Serbia (who have one game in hand) and eight in front of Portugal (who have two games in hand). As such, this is a must win game for both these teams if they are to have genuine hopes of hauling in the Ukraine. Serbia will fancy their chances on home soil especially against a Portugal side that has drawn its opening two games in this group, but something tells me that Portugal have so much quality on the counter attack with the likes of Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva that they will snatch a narrow victory here. – Tip – Portugal to win 1-0 (11/2)