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We had a perfect record in the UEFA European Championship play-offs first legs – three winners from three picks – and again one is most interested in an exotic market pertaining to the tie between Hungary and Norway – the Norwegians to have more corner kicks than their Hungarian opponents.
Football can be a cruel game and no-one knows that better than Norway after it dominating Thursday’s UEFA European Championship play-offs first leg but ended up on the wrong end of a 0-1 result. According to UEFA, Norway had 58 per cent possession, 22 attempts to Hungary’s six and 16 corner kicks to its rival’s zero. Yes, that is right – Norway won the corner-kick count 16-0, which is a remarkable statistic in a match between two teams that are close to each other on the World Football Elo Rankings and its FIFA equivalent.
Both Norway and Hungary have played 11 games during the UEFA European Championship qualifying competition that will draw to a close this week. Norway has forced 73 corner kicks and conceded 40 corners for an average differential of +3.00. Hungary has forced 46 corner kicks and conceded 54 corners for an average differential of -0.73. Even if one excludes Thursday’s one-sided corner-kick result and crunches the numbers based on the first 10 UEFA European Championship qualifying matches that both Norway and Hungary played, the Norwegians have an average differential of +1.55 compared to the Hungarians, who have an average differential of +0.73.
BetVictor is listing the attractive odds of -128 that Norway has more corner kicks than Hungary in their UEFA European Championship play-offs second leg on Sunday. Not only do the aforementioned statistics support backing Norway at the odds but also the state of the tie. One is expecting Hungary to play Sunday’s game as though it is the away side even though the match will take place in Budapest, looking to hit Norway on the break. Norway is not the most prolific of scorers so the likelihood is that the Norwegians will not score early in the second leg and, the longer that Sunday’s game goes without an away goal, the more desperate that the visitors will get. One can see Norway having to set the tempo.
Ireland’s home record against second-tier teams and Bosnia and Herzegovina’s away data versus genuine contenders means that one is picking the Irish at odds of +145 with Bet365 to win Monday’s UEFA European Championship play-offs second leg.
Since Ireland contributed to its own downfall in losing 1-2 to Serbia in Dublin – Jamie McCarthy equalised for the away team – the Irish have eight games in their capital city for five wins and three draws, including a victory over Germany. Bosnia and Herzegovina scored one goal and conceded six goals in its UEFA European Championship Group B away matches against Belgium, Israel and Wales, earning just one point.
Ireland did sufficiently well in Friday’s UEFA European Championship play-offs first leg in Bosnia and Herzegovina to suggest that it can qualify for next year’s tournament in France by beating its opponent in normal time in Dublin.
Ukraine justified one’s faith by defeating Slovenia to nil in Saturday’s UEFA European Championship play-offs first leg and one thinks that the gap in quality between the sides is such that the Ukrainians merit support at odds of +170 with Boylesports to complete a rapid home-and-away double.
Slovenia has no choice other than to throw the kitchen sink at Ukraine in Tuesday’s UEFA European Championship play-offs second leg but, if the Ukrainians open the scoring, then the likelihood is that the Slovenians will throw in the towel as they will need to reply with at least four normal-time goals in order to qualify for next year’s major event in France.
Finally, following on from the theme of Thursday’s article about the UEFA European Championship play-offs first legs, you may be interested to know that second legs of all-UEFA two-legged play-offs for spots at either a FIFA World Cup or a UEFA European Championship skew towards under two and a half goals and at least one team keeping a clean sheet. Of the 32 such games, 20 of them have gone under two and a half goals (equates to odds of -167 ) and 19 of them have featured at least one clean sheet (equates to odds of -147 ).
Norway more corners than Hungary
15th November 19:45 GMT
Ireland to beat Bosnia
16th November 19:45 GMT
Ukraine to beat Slovenia
17th November 19:45 GMT
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