Result: -5 units, bet lost
Finland go into their second round of group F matches as leaders of the table as they get ready to host Greece, the unexpected team placed on the 5th place. Greece were deemed as favorites in the first home match, which they ended up losing against Romania, while Finland displayed great determination when they came from behind a goal to win against Faroe Island.
Finland scored the three goals they won against Faroe Island in the second half when Riku Risky scored a brace and Eremenko made it 1-3 for the visitors. The team is pushing for a qualification now that the competition format has been expanded, and they have an advantage over Greece in the fact that the visitors have been unable to win against them in recent history. Finland’s coach injected some youth into the team as he allowed talents like Pukki, Riski and Pohjanpalo to shine while blending them into a team that promised much but did not deliver.
Greece showed a decent performance in Brazil, but lost their first match to Romania, yet the players are still confident in their qualification chances, with Manolas stating, “We didn’t create chances and nothing really worked for us. Our qualification is not in danger, though.” Claudio Ranieri took over the team, and the players are still to adjust to new formats. The injuries are not helping the visitors either as Sokratis, Christodoulopoulos, Kone and Holebas are tipped to miss the match against the group leaders. Against Greece is also the fact that while at home they played in sunny conditions, in Helsinki they will face possible rain, and at the very best +10 degrees Celsius.
Greece are still a team able to produce a surprise for which Ladbrokes credits them with 2.37 odds. Finland gets 3.00 odds for an outright win. Both teams to score have 2.15 odds, over 2.5 goals has 2.55 odds and a goal line of +2.0 has 1.93 odds. The second half to have the majority of goals has 2.15 odds, while the first one has 3.20 odds. Mitroglu as an anytime goalscorer has 3.25 odds, Samaras 3.80 and Karelis 4.00. For Finland, Pukki and Pohjanpalo both have 3.80 odds to score anytime, while Riski has 4.50 and we’re betting 7 units on Eremenko to score anytime at 5.00 with Ladbrokes.
Romania tries to qualify for another major tournament and the match against Hungary is their chance to either win a second match in a row or lose another one. The hosts are the favorites with the bookmakers to win outright mainly due to the fact that in the qualification for the tournament in Brazil Romania won with 3-0. Hungary will want to avenge said defeat; but Romania is more motivated when playing at home.
Romania was off to a good start in this campaign, and the win against Greece gave them confidence, which they have to capitalize on Saturday. Fiorentina’s goalkeeper Tatarusanu is sure his team can win in front of their own supporters. Gabi Tamas will be missing in defense as he’s undergoing recovery sessions after a surgery, bur the hosts can compensate that with a brilliant offensive line, where Keseru, Rusescu could score to preserve the chances for the first place in the group.
Hungary started the group stage by losing against Northern Ireland, a team that managed to come from behind one goal and win. This set a negative record for the visiting team; they conceded five goals in the last two matches. Even if they are set to play against Faroe Islands next week, it will be this match against Romania that will decide the place Hungary will be going for. Their main goalscorers are Priskin and Varga with two goals, and in friendlies so far, they only managed to win against lesser opponents while Romania recorded a 0-0 draw against Argentina.
William Hill gives Hungary 5.00 odds for an upset, but Romania got 1.75 odds for an outright win. When the two teams met in Hungary the match ended in a 2-2 draw, which makes the bet on both teams to score and Romania to win at 4.33 odds a valuable one. Romania for both halves has 2.87 odds, Hungary 8.00, and the hosts with a -1 Handicap have 3.20 odds. Keseru and Marica both have 2.50 odds to score anytime, while Priskin was given 3.75 odds in the same market. We are betting 7 units on over 2.5 goals per match at 2.25 odds with William Hill.
Group A with Netherlands as the overall favorites to qualify from the group, sees the third best team in the world on the fifth place in the group of six teams. Czech Republic, the current group A leaders, meet Turkey in one of the most interesting Friday matches. The visitors have had problems beating Turkey at home even if they won back in 2013 and kept a clean sheet. For this match the bookmakers favor the hosts even if they lost in the first qualification game.
Fatih Terim knows the only way to beat the visitors is to outsmart their tactics, a task which most likely will fall towards Atletico Madrid’s Arda Turan. Turkey lost surprisingly against Iceland 3-0, and found themselves on the last place on the table with a negative goal average. So far, the hosts have played seven matches this year, won five of them and lost against USA and the aforementioned Iceland. They have big injury worries for this match as Demirel, Toprak, Yilmaz and Pekmetek seem to have withdrawn from the squad due to different degrees of injuries. Terim still hopes to get either player back, and if he won’t manage then Turan will have to be backed up by Bulut up front.
Czech Republic won surprisingly against Netherlands in the first match, and their captain is the main man for their midfield. Petr Chech is constant in the goal even if he gets little play time at Chelsea, and their downside is the defense, where they leave too many spaces for the opposite team to explore. They don’t have injury worries, though a flu virus has put a few players under doubt. The away match against Turkey is a test of sorts to check whether their form against Netherlands wasn’t just a fluke.
888sport favors the hosts to win and gives them 2.16 odds for an outright win, Czech Republic got 3.40 and a draw has 3.30 odds. Both teams to score has 1.94 odds, Turkey to lead at half time 2.85 odds, Czech Republic 3.90. Over 2.5 goals has 2.16 odds, Turkey for both halves 3.35 odds, Czech Republic 5.30 and the wincast market of Lafata to score and the visitors to win has 7.00 odds. We are betting 8 units on the visitors to score over 1.5 goals per match at 3.30 with 888sport.
Group H may have only one favorite on paper, and that would be Italy, but if you look at group standings after the first round of matches, you’ll notice the group has three leaders. On Friday, Bulgaria is set to clash against Croatia for bragging rights on who gets to distance themselves from the rest of the teams. Both teams won their opening matches; while Croatia kept a clean sheet against Malta, Bulgaria struggled against Azerbaijan.
Bulgaria welcomes back their captain, as Popov is tipped to be the one to keep his team in check against Croatia’s side with many emerging talents. The previous match was only their second win in six matches, and it was an away win, which boosted their moral and left hopes for a qualification. They look stronger at home, and while Croatia might be the favorites to win, Bulgaria is tipped not to leave many open spaces for the visitors to explore.
Croatia might be without Pletikosa and Eduardo, but they left one of the best impressions in the Brazil tournament with the likes of Mario Mandzukic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic to lead their attack and hope for goals. If one starts naming all Croatian players tipped to make a difference against Bulgaria, you’ll end up naming the entire starting eleven. There is a quality and experience gap between the two teams which only adds importance to Croatia winning this match.
Bet365 favors Croatia to win outright and gives them 2.25 odds for an outright win, Bulgaria gets 3.40 and a draw has been given 3.10 odds. Bulgaria for both halves has 5.50 odds, Croatia 3.60 and over 2.5 goals 2.40 odds. Both teams to score has 2.10 odds, Mandzukic as an anytime goalscorer has 2.75 odds, Olic 3.50 and Popov 3.75. We are betting 5 units on the coupled market of Croatia to win and over 2.5 goals per match with 4.33 odds from Bet365.
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