After a busy weekend of international football, the qualifying picture is starting to look a little clearer for the Home Nations.
England and Northern Ireland look to be in a strong position to make the cut automatically for next year’s finals. Meanwhile, Wales have work to do and Scotland’s hopes are hanging by a thread after their disappointing home defeat to Russia.
What will matchday six in the Euro 2020 qualifiers bring?
Here are our best bets as we look at the latest set of qualifiers…
Euro 2020 Qualifiers Predictions – Matchday 6
SCOTLAND VS BELGIUM, 19:45
The lowdown: The Tartan Army’s hopes of stepping out at Hampden Park next summer in their first international tournament since 1998 look to be lying in tatters. A demoralising 2-1 home reverse against Russia – a third in five qualifying games – leaves Steve Clarke’s side six points adrift of second-place Russia with only five games remaining.
An unlikely win against Belgium would help the Scots salvage some momentum in Group I, but that also relies on the Russians slipping up against Kazakhstan. If they do, that could set up a mouth-watering winner-takes-all clash in Moscow next month.
The returning Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens will look to exploit any frailties in the Scotland defence. In better news, the Scots will be relieved to see Eden Hazard’s name missing from tonight’s team-sheet.
Verdict: More home discomforts for Clarke. 1-3.
Best Bet: Back over 11.5 corners at 161/100.
NORTHERN IRELAND VS GERMANY, 20:00
The lowdown: Another year, and another qualifying tournament where Northern Ireland continue to surpass all expectations. Michael O’Neill ‘s side kept up their recent momentum with a 1-0 friendly win against Luxembourg last week. That fifth win in a row in all competitions came despite O’Neill’s decision to ring the changes. Depending on your outlook, the fixture computer has been either cruel or kind on Northern Ireland, front-loading their easier games in Group C, but leaving them with a desperate fight to the finish. Winner-takes-all home and away ties against Germany and the Netherlands will decide their fate.
With four wins from four, O’Neill’s side have given themselves plenty of wriggle room to qualify. Their their task has been made a little harder tonight by Germany’s 2-4 home reverse to the Netherlands. That result leaves Joachim Löw’s side with little room for further error.
Verdict: The winning run to come to an end at Windsor Park 1-2
Best Bet: Back Germany to win from behind at 73/10.
ENGLAND VS KOSOVO, 19:45
The lowdown: England hardly had to get out of second gear as they raced to a comfortable 4-0 win over group whipping boys Bulgaria to extend their lead at the top of the group. Gareth Southgate’s side could face a much sterner examination against current group surprise packages Kosovo.
In their first ever European Championship qualifying tournament, Bernard Challandes’ side have put themselves in an excellent position to reach next year’s finals automatically after upsetting the Czech Republic 2-1 in Pristina. They will surely have to be at their best at St Mary’s to take anything from an England side that have not dropped any points in a European qualifier for over eight years. However the visitors do have some talented players that could pounce on any lazy Three Lions defending. Bersant Celina of Swansea and Atdhe Nuhiu of Sheffield Wednesday are just two familiar faces to look out for.
With two away trips to come against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, expect Gareth Southgate to resist the temptation to rest the likes of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling and start on the front foot on the South Coast.
Verdict: Another win and another clean sheet for England – but not necessarily the easiest night’s work. 3-0.
Best Bet: Back Harry Maguire to score the first goal at 11/1.
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