International Tips – Saturday 26th March
Well, we made a slight profit last weekend of around £14, which is better than a loss and was the second profit In a row and so I want to make it three in a row with this somewhat unusual set of tips.
Over the next week or so, we should get a lot closer to seeing the final make up of the 2022 World Cup Finals as teams in Africa, Asia, North, Central and South America, Oceania and Europe complete the latest of their qualifiers.
In many cases, these will be the final games of qualification for most regions, with just a small number of games remaining to be played in June, including Scotland’s playoff against Ukraine (with the final to be played shortly after) and two Inter-Conference Playoff games.
That means that by the end of this international break we should know 29 of the 32 teams set to compete in Qatar at the end of this year.
We already know the names of 15 qualifiers. There are the ten Group Winners from European Qualifying (which includes England, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands) plus Brazil and Argentina from South America, Canada from North America and South Korea and Iran from Asia.
They will all join Qatar, who host the tournament, with around the same number of teams set to qualify and confirm their spot over the next week or so.
But weirdly, all these games take place at very different times, so what I have done is go to Saturday’s fixture list and instead pick from the international friendlies taking place then, which includes games for England, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Croatia and more.
It’s a bit of an odd one, and I’m never 100% sure with International games, let alone friendlies, but here’s my tips for this week regardless.
International Betting Tips: Saturday 26th March
These two teams met in the Group Stages of World Cup Qualifying and Slovenia scored a win in the opening game, beating Croatia 1-0, but the World Cup Finalists of 2018 earned revenge in the home leg with a comfortable 3-0 win on their way towards topping the group and earning a place in Qatar.
For me though, this Croatia team isn’t as strong or as powerful as the team that reached the final in Russia four years ago. For one, their best players are all four years older, and some are past their very best, while still being very good international quality players.
I think they will likely use these friendly games to play some fringe players to see if they have anybody coming through the ranks who can make a real attempt to break into the squad for the World Cup and eventually take over the role of one of their key veteran players.
I don’t expect Slovenia to be a massively difficult obstacle for Croatia to get past here, especially at home, and I think they will likely keep a clean sheet and score in both halves, which is why I have gone for the HT/FT option here to try and earn a return.
The Republic of Ireland are very much undergoing a transitional period and they have struggled to pick up decent results in recent times. Draws with Serbia and Portugal at home were solid, as were 3-0 away wins against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan, but this Irish team is still well off the quality of some others.
For Belgium, this World Cup represents probably the last opportunity for this great squad of players to land a major international trophy. With a number in their squad now approaching their 30th birthday, or beyond it, it really is now or never for the top ranked team in the world.
On paper this should be a stroll in the park for the visitors as they have so much talent in their squad that Ireland should not be able to live with them. However, I wonder if Belgium boss Roberto Martinez may elect to experiment a little in this game with the World Cup in mind.
That may make things tougher but even so, I am still backing Belgium to win both halves in this game and land a comfortable victory as they start their build up to the World Cup in November and December this year.
Gareth Southgate’s England will begin their World Cup preparations with a game against a Swiss side that managed to beat Italy to the automatic promotion spot in their group and leaves the Italians needing two wins, one potentially away to Portugal, in order to reach the finals.
There were no such problems for England who qualified well from the group stage and with Harry Kane starting to find his form and Raheem Sterling looking sharp, England should be confident of kicking off their preparation with a win here.
However, Switzerland have become a very tough team to beat in recent years and they are always very well set up and hard to score against, plus they have become more of a danger against opposition in recent years too, something that was not always the case.
That said, England have been excellent at Wembley in recent times and it is rare that they don’t win at home even against quality opponents. Switzerland may score a goal, but I still feel England will land a narrow victory here.
Two of the more entertaining teams in Europe will meet in a friendly in Amsterdam with both teams looking to build up a team to take on the World in the winter. The Dutch have so many talented players throughout their team but they need to find a bit more consistency, especially against the top sides, in order to really shine.
Denmark may not have quite as many superstars as the Dutch but they have an outstanding squad and self-belief as well as togetherness and that took them into the semifinals of the European Championships where they only lost to England at Wembley in extra time.
There is also the return of Christian Eriksen to the Danish squad after his horrific heart issue at the European Championships and his return will certainly be a massive boost for the Danes morale, but also adds a great deal to their creative quality too.
Normally the Dutch at home are a very tough team to beat but I think this Danish side have plenty of quality in their ranks in order to get something. Both teams won’t want to lose here and with a few subs splitting the game up in the second half, I can see this one finishing up as a draw.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.