Image Source: TASR/Pavel Neubauer
We’re back at it after a long layoff. EURO 2016 Qualifying picks back up, and there’s even more at stake. Most teams have played 4 matches to date, but this match day promises to turn the tide in a number of groups. This preview will focus on Friday’s matches, where Groups C, E and G will face off. There are a number of very important matches.
EURO 2016 Qualifying Group C
Current Group Odds:
FYR Macedonia v. Belarus – Skopje, Macedonia
Each of these teams is already up against it after just 4 matches. Macedonia is 6 points behind 3rd, while Belarus has just a single point from 4 matches. It’s safe to say this is a massive match for both sides. We give both a virtually nonexistent chance of getting back to 3rd, but they must play the games. Both teams desperately need 3 points, as a draw will likely help nobody. Our predictor gives the edge to Belarus, but don’t be surprised to see this match go either way. Belarus is probably a little overrated here.
Odds: Macedonia 15.4%, Belarus 64.3%, Draw 20.2%
Score Prediction: Belarus 2 – FYR Macedonia 1
Slovakia v. Luxembourg – Zilina, Slovakia
Group leader Slovakia gets to host last place Luxembourg. That’s not good news for Ukraine or Spain. Slovakia already has 3 road wins under their belt in EURO 2016 Qualifying, and we fully expect the train to keep on rolling. They’re one of the hottest teams in Europe, as they’ve won 8 of their past 9. While the goal total may not be exactly what we expect, the result should never be in much doubt. Luxembourg is getting close to the precipice, and Slovakia may in fact be the nation to toss them over.
Odds: Slovakia 97.3%, Luxembourg 0.5%, Draw 2.2%
Score Prediction: Slovakia 4 – Luxembourg 0
Spain v. Ukraine – Sevilla, Spain
Clearly the marquee matchup in Group C, this one is going to have plenty of long-term implications. Spain and Ukraine currently sit level on points, and if either team is able to manage 3 points here, it will go a long way towards ensuring qualification. Spain is tough to figure out right now. They waxed the bottom 3 in this group, but lost to Slovakia, as well as in friendlies to Germany and France. While they are obviously top-notch competition, it is a bit concerning that Spain hasn’t fared better. Ukraine has been playing extremely well with 16 wins, 3 draws and 2 defeats in their past 21 matches. Yes, this will be a tough match for Ukraine, but it should be a great game.
Odds: Spain 37.2%, Ukraine 36.6%, Draw 26.2%
Score Prediction: Spain 1 – Ukraine 1
EURO 2016 Qualifying Group E
Current Group Odds:
England v. Lithuania – London, England
As you can see above, England has a massive stranglehold on Group E in EURO 2016 Qualifying. We’re projecting them to finish with close to 27 points from this group, and don’t have a single scenario where they fall out of the Top 2. That’s clearly very impressive. They’ll host surprise package Lithuania, who find themselves level on 6 points with Switzerland and Slovenia. Clearly anything from this match will be a huge bonus. Lithuania is a tough team. Prior to their embarrassing loss at Switzerland, Lithuania held their previous 12 opponents to just 9 goals. It is impressive, but England finished off 2014 with 6 straight victories, and we expect that trend to continue here.
Odds: England 87.9%, Lithuania 3.1%, Draw 9.0%
Score Prediction: England 3 – Lithuania 0
Slovenia v. San Marino – Ljubljana, Slovenia
In San Marino’s last match, they pulled off an unprecedented home draw against Estonia. They still have virtually no chance of qualifying, but it was a huge bit of significance. Slovenia did not have a strong 2014. They played 7 matches and lost 5 of them, including at Estonia in qualifying. They are far, far better on home soil, however, and we fully expect a thrashing in this one, as San Marino is absolutely horrid away from home. Slovenia must take care of business.
Odds: Slovenia 97.1%, San Marino 0.5%, Draw 2.4%
Score Prediction: Slovenia 4 – San Marino 0
Switzerland v. Estonia – Lucerne, Switzerland
This is a pretty big match for both teams. Switzerland has already dropped points against the England and Slovenia and have very little margin for error. Failing to defeat San Marino will virtually eliminate any chance you have in EURO 2016 Qualifying, but Estonia still has time to make up for past transgressions. Unfortunately, Estonia is terrible against our Top 40, going 1-2-18 over the past 4 years. We think Switzerland takes care of business at home to pick up 3 vital points in Group E.
Odds: Switzerland 87.1%, Estonia 3.4%, Draw 9.5%
Score Prediction: Switzerland 3 – Estonia 0
EURO 2016 Qualifying Group G
Current Group Odds:
Liechtenstein v. Austria – Vaduz, Liechtenstein
Austria was one of the teams we loved heading into qualifying. We thought they had a real shot to take down Sweden and Russia, and they’ve proven they can handle the pressure. They’ve started qualifying hot with a win over Russia and a draw v. Sweden. Now they’ll take on Liechtenstein, where they need to take care of business. We fully expect Austria to validate that their 2014 form was no fluke. Anything from Liechtenstein here would be a major surprise.
Odds: Liechtenstein 1.1%, Austria 94.6%, Draw 4.3%
Score Prediction: Austria 3 – Liechtenstein 0
Moldova v. Sweden – Chisinau, Moldova
In EURO 2016 Qualifying, you must win the games you should. Sweden has 3 draws thus far and has to get over that hump and pick up 3 points. Moldova is at the bottom of the group, which includes a home defeat to Liechtenstein. They’re not playing well, after looking decent in early 2014. One thing Sweden does not do is drop points against bottom feeders like Moldova. We’ve got 13 straight wins on record against teams outside of our Top 65. Moldova is much further down than that. Anything less than 3 here would be stunning. Sweden must keep pace with Austria and Russia.
Odds: Moldova 11.6%, Sweden 70.0%, Draw 18.4%
Score Prediction: Sweden 2 – Moldova 0
Montenegro v. Russia – Podgorica, Montenegro
This is such a massive game for Montenegro. 3 points would put them into at worst 3rd place, with a much improved chance of qualification. Russia knows this. Russia cannot afford to drop more points after their loss at Austria. While Russia’s defense is always stifling, they’ve only had 1 clean sheet in their past 8 road matches dating back 2 and a half years. That’s about the last time Montenegro got a win against top European Competition. This is going to be a very competitive match, with very few goals. It’s going to be a close one.
Odds: Montenegro 26.5%, Russia 48.2%, Draw 25.3%
Score Prediction: Russia 2 – Montenegro 1
Thanks for reading our EURO 2016 Qualifying Preview for Groups C, E, and G. The rest will be out soon. Please follow us on Twitter @We_Global for the latest international updates!