Lewandowski’s Compatriots are Poles Apart

Poland are well on course to qualify for Russia 2018.

Poland is running away with UEFA Group E of FIFA World Cup qualifying and one thinks that the ladder leader will take another step towards Russia by beating Romania on Saturday.

Five rounds into FIFA World Cup qualifying from the UEFA confederation and Poland, powered by Robert Lewandowski’s eight goals – one fewer than Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo – has a 4-1-0 record and a six-point advantage over Montenegro and Denmark, with Romania and Armenia another point back. Poland kicked off its UEFA Group E campaign in disappointing fashion, giving away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 at Kazakhstan but the Poles have rebounded with home defeats of Denmark and Armenia and away victories over Romania and Montenegro. Poland thrashed Romania 3-0 in Bucharest in November, Lewandowski bagging a late brace to put the game to bed following not one but two unscheduled interruptions due to crowd violence that went on throughout the match.

Romania, which is 47th in the World Football Elo Ratings compared to Poland’s 14th, has slid down the rankings in recent years and it has failed to score in each of its last four games, three of which were competitive in nature.

Bet365 are offering odds of -175  about Poland beating Romania on Polish soil for the first time. Records are there to be broken and Poland, which had 16 attempts to Romania’s eight in November’s reverse UEFA Group E fixture, is one’s confident headline pick to collect three points.

The first international football match featured Scotland and England and the old enemies – one will refrain from using auld – meet for the umpteenth time in UEFA Group F of FIFA World Cup qualifying on Saturday. England is available at odds of -137  with several bookmakers, including Coral, SkyBet and William Hill, and it is one’s second selection.

England netted three headed goals – Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill were the scorers – to beat Scotland 3-0 in November’s reverse UEFA Group F fixture. Scotland had more than double England’s number of attempts but the Tartan Army had fewer efforts on target than the Three Lions.

According to the World Football Elo Ratings, England is the fifth best team in Europe and the 10th best team on the planet, whereas Scotland is 26th and 48th respectively.

Scotland failed to post a friendly home win over Canada in March so England has nothing to fear from its northern neighbour which it has beaten in each of their last three meetings. England would be shorter odds if it was not for the fact that bookmakers are overcompensating for Scotland being its host. Scottish football is in a dreadful state.

Staying in that part of the world and one likes Ireland at odds of +150  with many bookmakers, including BoyleSports, Paddy Power and Winner Sports, to beat Austria on Sunday.

November’s reverse UEFA Group D fixture resulted in a 1-0 road success for Ireland courtesy of James McClean’s goal three minutes into the second half. According to the World Football Elo Ratings, Ireland is ranked 23rd to Austria’s 46th and the sides have been moving in opposite directions in recent years. One thinks that bookmakers have not caught on to Austria’s decline and that they are still assessing it on its performances from 2015 and further back in time.

Tips Summary

Poland to beat Romania
Saturday 10th June, 19:45 GMT
Odds:  -175

England to beat Scotland
Saturday 10th June, 17:00 GMT
Odds:  -137

Ireland to beat Austria
Sunday 11th June, 17:00 GMT
Odds:  +150

World Cup 2018
World Cup Qualifying

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