EURO 2016 Predictions and Preview – Groups A, B, H – Matchday 3

Before we get into the preview, make sure to download our EURO 2016 match tracker. It contains all fixtures, lets you enter scores, calculates standings (including the 3rd place standings!), and uses our rankings to project group outcomes. All in one sheet! You can’t find this anywhere else, and if you enjoy, please share on Facebook or send a tweet. Would be very much appreciated.

 

EURO 2016 Competition Tracker – <—— DOWNLOAD

 

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Our previews will be rolling out based on the day of the games. Today is these 3, and we’ll keep rolling out predictions each day.

 

Group A

Iceland v. Netherlands – Reykjavik, Iceland

Through 2 matches, Iceland is your Group A leader with 6 goals for and 0 goals allowed. It’s hard to imagine asking for a better start. The Dutch were down at home to Kazakhstan, and it was fair to wonder whether they would be empty handed through 2. Kazakhstan was booked in the 33rd minute for time wasting before ultimately succumbing to Le Oranje. Iceland has done well to crack the Top 40 of our rankings, and this will be very competitive. Anything from Iceland will be very helpful to their qualifying hopes.

Prediction: Iceland 1 – Netherlands 2

 

Kazakhstan v. Czech Republic – Astana, Kazakhstan

Thus far, the Czech Republic have been the most impressive team in Group A, if not all of qualifying. Wins against the Netherlands and Turkey already have them in a great position to qualify for France. At this point it would be rather shocking if they didn’t. Kazakhstan played the Netherlands tough, but they just couldn’t hang on to a lead. If they get up here, expect similar stall tactics to be enforced. We’re going to ride the hot hand.

Prediction: Kazakhstan 0 – Czech Republic 2

 

Latvia v. Turkey – Riga, Latvia

Turkey simply cannot afford to drop any more points. The teams that they were competing with for a qualifying spot (Czech Republic, Iceland) have beaten Turkey straight up. This is a defining moment already for Turkey, and absolutely a must win. If they do not defeat Latvia here, they could not only miss out on a direct qualifying spot, they could also miss the playoffs! Turkey is the better team, and we think they’ll make sure to take care of business in Riga.

Prediction: Latvia 0 – Turkey 3

 

The Czechs have vaulted up our projections now. There’s some clear segmentation, and as we indicated, Turkey can’t afford to drop any more points.

  1. Netherlands (23.92)
  2. Czech Republic (21.72)
  3. Iceland (16.60)
  4. Turkey (15.33)
  5. Kazakhstan (3.99)
  6. Latvia (3.98)

 

Group B

Andorra v. IsraelAndorra la Vella, Andorra

I don’t know why, but it always seems that Israel starts their campaign with some of the easiest matches in the group. While winning at Cyprus certainly isn’t easy, Israel got the 3 points they needed. Given Bosnia’s struggle with Cyprus, they were an important 3 points that vaulted Israel to projected 2nd in this group. We don’t foresee there being any surprises in this one. Andorra is just overmatched.

Prediction: Andorra 0 – Israel 3

 

Bosnia-Herzegovina v. Belgium – Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina

One could look at this match and think “you can’t beat Cyprus at home, so why do you think you can beat Belgium at home?” And that’s true. The only possible reason may be that Belgium feels they don’t NEED to win this to qualify. We have Belgium projected to finish far and away #1 in this group and have them with a bigger 1-2 gap than any other team. Bosnia isn’t playing their best and hasn’t been for about a year now. This is going to be a true test of if they still can be considered one of Europe’s best. This is the game to watch.

Prediction: Bosnia-Herzegovina 1 – Belgium 2

 

Wales v. Cyprus – Cardiff, Wales

Another home match for Wales and another chance to get it right. They were unable to take out Bosnia at home, but that wasn’t a deal-breaker. Failing to defeat Cyprus at home, however, would be a devastating blow, as things only get harder from here. This is also a tremendous opportunity for Cyprus to put their defeat to Israel behind them and get some vital road points. There aren’t going to be many easy matches in this group, so a loss could be pretty damaging. We think Wales get the job done.

Prediction: Wales 2 – Cyprus 0

 

Bosnia is really taking it on the chin. At some point they have to start picking up points or it will be too hard to come back. We have them 5th in the group through 3 matches if these results hold.

  1. Belgium (26.55)
  2. Israel (17.36)
  3. Wales (16.51)
  4. Bosnia-Herzegovina (14.32)
  5. Cyprus (9.06)
  6. Andorra (1.50)

 

Group H

Croatia v. AzerbaijanOsijek, Croatia

As we’ve indicated since the beginning, this is a 2 team group. Italy and Croatia both look to be on cruise control. Croatia winning at Bulgaria basically locked up the Top 2 in this group after only 2 matches. It would take something truly shocking to knock either out of France. Croatia has another softball here, and they’ll take care of business against a demoralized, but decent Azerbaijan side. We fully expect Croatia to be perfect on 9 points through 3 matches.

Prediction: Croatia 3 – Azerbaijan 0

 

Malta v. Italy – Ta’Qali, Malta

Another match that on paper looks like should be a blowout, but the scoreline may not reflect it. Last March, Malta hosted Italy and scored a 2-0 victory. 2 years ago, Italy hosted Malta and only scored a 2-0 victory. While the result should never be in doubt, we don’t expect Italy to pour in a ton of goals here. They’ll get their unimpressive 3 points and move on. Anything more than a 0 from Malta should be viewed as success.

Prediction: Malta 0 – Italy 3

 

Norway v. Bulgaria – Oslo, Norway

We saved the best for last. No match on Monday has more qualifying implications than this one. Sure Belgium-Bosnia and Iceland-Netherlands will be big, exciting games, but this features two teams directly competing against each other for one spot. Group H is pretty straightforward. Italy and Croatia will be the Top 2 in some order. Azerbaijan should be 5th and Malta should be 6th. But Norway and Bulgaria are both in play for the 3rd place spot in this group, and they’re very close in quality. This game is absolutely massive, and if either team wins, they’ll immediately be the favorite for the playoffs. Unfortunately, we don’t see things being settled here, but it’ll be a great game to watch. Bulgaria should be happy with a point here.

Prediction: Norway 1 – Bulgaria 1

 

No change in the projections whatsoever. Italy and Croatia are well ahead of the pack.

  1. Italy (23.90)
  2. Croatia (23.54)
  3. Bulgaria (14.54)
  4. Norway (12.26)
  5. Azerbaijan (8.48)
  6. Malta (1.79)

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