By Antony Jordan
There are just two matches left before the group stages for the 2016 European Championships in France next summer conclude and with so few sides having qualified already there is plenty to play for before club football returns in ten days time. Group D is one of the most closely fought groups as Germany, Poland, Ireland and Scotland can secure their place at the tournament during this final pair of matches.
The first of the Euro 2016 qualifiers games plays this Thursday and we are previewing the games featuring these four sides, plus the top of Group I clash of Portugal v Denmark, with online sportsbook 10bet.com.
Portugal v Denmark: 1.71 – 3.55 – 5.40
The odds on favourites to win this top of Group I clash at the home of Sporting Braga, the Estádio AXA, can secure their passage to the European Championships next summer by following up their 1-0 win in Denmark – that saw Cristiano Ronaldo score the winner in injury time – with another home victory in front of their own fans this Thursday evening. They come into the game three points ahead of the Danes who, in turn, lead Albania by another point and with Armenia a further nine points back so both sides are assured of at least a spot in the play-offs but with this being Denmark’s last match of the group stage they know that if they are to progress automatically they will need to secure all three points in Portugal.
The Portuguese side have not really shone on home soil during this campaign as they were beaten 1-0 by Albania before edging narrow games against Armenia and Serbia with one goal victories. With three successive clean sheets coming into this match the Danes will be confident arriving on the Iberian peninsula, but in their five goal top scorer the home side have someone that can smash any confident defence to pieces. That man is Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo and we can see the national hero finding the net in this game.
Our money is on Cristiano Ronaldo to score anytime v Denmark @ 1.71 at 10bet.
Ireland v Germany: 6.70 – 4.35 – 1.48
The second, and final, meeting of the side that bowed out of Euro 2012 after three heavy defeats and the current world champions sees the two teams separated by just four points after eight games in Group. The Germans are top of the pile and will secure automatic qualification with victory in Dublin this Thursday, but as the Irish shocked the footballing world when they clashed at the Veltins-Arena almost a year ago to the day with a 1-1 draw. Can the home side repeat that result or, perhaps, go one better and take all three points to throw the group wide open?
The home side bring a six game unbeaten spell into this match in both friendly and competitive games since losing to Scotland following their 1-1 draw in Germany and while they have scored zero or one goal in four of these six games they will be confident for this clash with the world champions. Germany are in the better form of the two sides though with five straight wins after a difficult start to the group stages and with 19 goals in this timeframe they will believe that they can fire their way to victory.
However, Ireland are unbeaten on home soil in this campaign while Germany have lost to Poland and had a narrow 3-2 win over Scotland last time around so this could be a closer game than the odds suggest. The Germans should win though, and they did so 6-1 on their last visit to the Emerald Isle in 2012, so we are backing the away side to take all three points but this to be a battling and closely fought encounter.
Our top Ireland v Germany tip is back Germany to win and both sides to score at odds of 3.15 with 10bet.com.
Scotland v Poland: 2.80 – 3.05 – 2.70
Assuming that Ireland do not upset the odds and are defeated by the Germans in front of their fans then victory for second placed Poland at Hampden Park in Glasgow will see them book their place in France next summer and see the Irish secure a playoff place while the Scots will be out of the running for the Euros. This means that there is plenty for both sides to win in this Scotland v Poland Group D clash and, especially for the Scots, even more to lose. Will this give us a gung-ho all out attack game or a cagey must not lose clash this Thursday evening?
If the Scots are to have a fighting chance at securing a place in France next summer they will need to bring their three game winless streak that has seen a draw with Ireland before back to back losses to Georgia and Germany against a side that bounced back from a 3-1 away loss to the Germans by thumping Gibraltar 8-1 on home soil prior to this match. That match saw Robert Lewandowski net two goals and with the Bayern Munich player having bagged 16 goals in matches for his club this season in all competitions it is he who everyone will be talking about in the build up to this game. We feel that he’ll be talked about afterwards too as we see the 27 year old bagging at least one goal in Glasgow this Thursday.
Back Robert Lewandowski to score anytime versus Scotland @ 2.55 in the 10bet Sportsbook.