The Netherlands got its UEFA European Championship Group A campaign back on track with a 3-1 home win over Kazakhstan and one thinks that the FIFA World Cup bronze medallist is fair odds to beat an overrated Iceland team in ReykjavÃk.
Iceland has won each of its last three matches but it has received help from officials in its back-to-back-to-back victories over Estonia, Turkey and Estonia. The only goal of the game between Iceland and Estonia came from the penalty mark, Turkey played more than half an hour with 10 men and the same fate befell Latvia and it was 0-0 at the time when Artoms Rudnevs was sent off for two cautionable offences.
Trawl through Iceland’s results and the recurring theme is that it beats sides positioned below it on the FIFA World Ranking and it loses to teams listed above it. Well, that is the case when it remains 11 versus 11 for the full duration of matches, something that has not happened a lot recently.
The Netherlands is fourth on the FIFA World Ranking, which places it 30 spots above Iceland, and it cannot afford any more silly mistakes after losing its first UEFA European Championship Group A road game versus the Czech Republic.
BetVictor is offering odds of -149 that the Netherlands, which beat Iceland home and away during qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, maintains its unbeaten record against its opponent with a vital triumph on the road.
Football fans in Northern Ireland are daring to dream that their side may qualify for its first major tournament since the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Northern Ireland has won each of its first two UEFA European Championship Group F games versus Hungary and the Faroe Islands but it faces a much tougher test against a desperate Greece team in Piraeus.
FIFA World Cup qualifier Greece has taken only one points from its first two UEFA European Championship Group F matches verus Romania and Greece, with its 0-1 loss to Romania being its first home defeat in a competitive game since October 2008. Greece had won 12 and drawn three of its 15 meaningful home matches off the back of its 1-2 loss to Switzerland during qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
A few months ago and one would not have seen odds of -175 with William Hill for Greece to win an important home game versus a side as limited as Northern Ireland. One would have seen odds of around -400 and, even then, thought about using them as the anchor leg of a multiple bet. Greece is over the odds to take the wind out of Northern Ireland’s sails.
Finally, it was a miracle that Azerbaijan scored a goal in its UEFA European Championship Group H match versus Italy in Palermo. Azerbaijan scored from its only attempt on target, which came from its only corner. Oh, and just for good measure, it was an own goal. It was a dagger through the heart of punters who had backed Italy to win to nil.
Croatia in Osijek is the next UEFA European Championship Group H assignment for Azerbaijan and one is keen to back the hot favourite to win without conceding a goal. Croatia has kept a clean sheet in four of its last five games and Azerbaijan, which is facing the former FIFA World Cup bronze medallist for the first time, has failed to score in 36 of its 50 competitive matches since gaining independence.
Sky Bet is offering odds of -149 that Croatia wins to nil against Azerbaijan, odds that are many rolls over the top.
Netherlands to beat Iceland
13th October 19:45 GMT
Where to Bet: BetVictor
Greece to beat Northern Ireland
14th October 19:45 GMT
Where to Bet: William Hill
Croatia win to nil v Azerbaijan
13th October 19:45 GMT
Where to Bet: Sky Bet
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