The first interval to our already fiery domestic season has arrived, the World Cup is almost just twelve months away and while we quietly wait to get excited again at the global spectacle…there are some further qualification fixtures which need attention.
I’ve tried to pick out a couple which might grab your attention, but more importantly offer you a little opportunity to replenish the coffers before we get back to our domestic leagues. Enjoy!
Friday 3 September
Zimbabwe 23/10 | Draw 16/10
South Africa 27/20
The real talking points here have really revolved around experience. Zimbabwe brings a multiplicity of European club scene experience into this encounter whilst South Africa have opted for a rather fresh squad under new manager, Hugo Broos.
Bafana Bafana have tried and failed at the experience approach, and I think a new age and look to our national side might inspire some sort of revigorated passion and energy for achieving on the international stage.
South Africa will head into the fixture with a negative approach and probably look to absorb any attack Zimbabwe launch. A draw usually offers enough value in any encounter, and I think it might be the bet for this one.
Saturday 4 September
Latvia 13/2 | Draw 31/10 | Norway 4/10 (18:00)
Latvia have managed to muster just one win in their last five games – conceding twelve goals. Those aren’t exactly glamorous statistics considering that their last two World Cup qualifier games have ended 3-3 and 0-2 to Turkey and the Netherlands respectively.
Norway, on the other hand, boast three wins from their last five. The Norwegian contingent have certainly got an attacking threat to pressurize Latvia, and Over 2.5 goals should be a banker for the weekend.
Netherlands 1/4 | Draw 6/1 | Montenegro 15/1 (20:45)
The Netherlands haven’t played together since their performances at the European Championships in June, but I think they’ll pick up where they left off. They have some big-name players around world football and would have been disappointed with their summer performances.
Montenegro will always want to make a football game of the affair, but they don’t outclass Holland anywhere on the field and I think the scoreline will reflect that. Take the men in orange to win on the (-1) handicap…and if the handicap offered by Hollywood is (-2) don’t be shy, get stuck in any way!
Ukraine 4/1 | Draw 47/20 | France 13/20 (20:45)
The last time these sides met in a qualifier game, a rather lackluster French side was held to a 1-1 draw. This French side is littered with talent and on paper look difficult to overcome, but as we saw in the European Championship, they often make life difficult for themselves.
The Ukraine won’t expect too much of the ball, but I think they might be comfortable with this come Saturday. They’ll be looking for that chance and will put everything into taking it.
Nevertheless, I think France start a strong side and take the game out of reach early. The firepower they have available in attacking areas is silly, really, and I think they’ll want to make a statement here against a strong side.
Slovakia 26/10 | Draw 39/20 | Croatia 1/1 (20:45)
This is a difficult game to call, both sides have enough quality to hurt the other but are simultaneously incredibly inconsistent. I wouldn’t be surprised to see any result here, but neither side have managed to keep a clean sheet in their last four outings. Both teams to score might be play, but I would try wait until the very last minute to place the bet.
If I was pushed for a winner though, Croatia lives off of what they became under the guide of their ‘former’ stars…I would suggest that a new guard is needed and they aren’t the same side anymore, so a smart wager might be getting behind Slovakia who showed earlier this year just how fluid and positive they can be.
Sunday 5 September
Betting available closer to kick-off at www.hollywoodbets.net
England vs Andorra (18:00)
England will be an incredibly short price, but for any multiple, single bet with the provident fund, double or nothing you might find yourself in, England should be punted all the way to financial glory.
England have played Andorra four times since 2006 and never conceded a goal to them – I don’t think anything will change on Sunday afternoon! The robust and yet speedy defensive line of the English is underpinned by modern quality and really supple to watch.
Spain vs Georgia (20:45)
The rhythmic blend which exists in this Spanish side is truly something to behold. They have enough experience and quality to add value to their national side on and off the field, and yet also give their youngsters an incredible platform to show the world what they can do.
The European Championship is a brilliant example of this, the Spanish had their critics after announcing their side but enjoyed a deep run in Europe’s elite national side tournament.
The home win is an obvious choice, but for more value back them to be leading after the first ten minutes. Their direct and speed induced start to games often catch opponents unaware and I think Georgia could very well fall victim to an early Spanish inquisition.
Germany vs Armenia (20:45)
The last time these sides met, Germany burgled the fixture and ran out 6-1 winners. The quality this German side has in wide areas is scary and now coupled with a coach who isn’t shy to exploit those areas…this could get close to that previous score line.
Hansi Flick has shown in the Bundesliga that whilst he tips his hat to Bavarian tradition, he isn’t afraid to add new variants and strains to his game…I’m really looking forward to seeing his impact and contribution to German national football. Germany will steamroll Armenia and looking at them to score in both halves might be the path to follow.
Switzerland vs Italy (20:45)
The true European champions come into this game with all the confidence and guile pursuant to a team with just a touch of swagger and a whole lot of class. The Italians have had a perfect record against the Swiss stretching back to 2003 and I can’t see a situation which would change that powerful statistic.
Players like Lorenzo Insigne and Alessandro Florenzi will want to dazzle and I wouldn’t put you off throwing a couple coins at Insigne scoring anytime.
Belgium vs Czech Republic (20:45)
A rather flat 1-1 draw was all we got last time out in March, but I suspect the story might be different this time around. The Red Devils will be confident about bossing the ball and getting onto the front foot through a delicate combination of skill and brute strength.
Their big number 9, Romelu Lukaku, will have his tail up after a positive start to life again in England and you can expect that link up with the likes of Thomas Meunier, Leandro Trossard and Hans Vanaken to pick up where they left off.
The Belgian win should be a player in all multiples and can end us off on a high going back into the domestic circuit.