So far for the home nations it has been a promising European qualifying campaign. However will this continue? Below you will find my preview of all euro championship qualifying games taking place this coming week and my predictions on the outcomes of each match.
Kazakhstan vs Turkey
Turkey will know games like these will be critical to win to ensure they retain hope of making the Euro Championship in France next year. They currently trail Iceland in second by seven points and will know that their automatic qualification hopes will look bleak if they do not beat Kazakhstan. Situated in bottom place a draw would represent a good result for Kazakhstan, who will attempting not to finish off bottom of the group to ensure their seeding in future qualifying draws is not affected.
Turkey will win in my opinion but it will be tight.
Prediction: Kazakhstan 1 v 2 Turkey
Iceland vs Czech Republic
The top two faces off in this fixture and on paper it looks to be the most interesting game in this round of fixtures in group A. Czech Republic could be considered favourites with their unbeaten record and their top scorer Bořek Dočkal in excellent form so far in this campaign. However Iceland are unlikely to be disappointed with the underdog tag after impressive back to back home wins against Netherlands and Turkey in recent matches. Furthermore with Gylfi Sigurdsson in equally impressive goal scoring form for Iceland this game could end up being a goal feast.
The winner of this game will end up top of the group after the current round of group fixtures. With both teams desperate not to lose, I think a draw is a likely result.
Prediction: Iceland 1 v 1 Czech Republic
Latvia Vs Netherlands
Disaster. In one word that would sum up the Netherlands qualifying campaign so far. Only seven points has been gained from 5 games which has left Netherlands languishing in third place in the group. As you would except this game has been described as “must win” by the Netherlands manager Guus Hiddink. Latvia as expected have struggled in this group and currently sit in fifth place with three points from five games.
A must win game for Netherlands which they should achieve with some comfort in this game.
Prediction: Latvia 0 v 4 Netherlands
Andorra vs Cyprus
It has been over 11 years since Andorra have won a competitive game when they beat Macedonia by one goal to nil. Since then it has been a familiar bottom position finishes and heavy defeats for the minnows. In comparison Cyprus have had a mixed qualifying campaign so far with two wins and three defeats in their five qualifying games. This has left Cyprus five points behind the top two in the group, and will be aware that any slip up to in this game to Andorra will most likely to signal the end of their automatic qualifying hopes.
Cyprus should cruise to victory and continue Andorra wait for a first European championship qualifying win.
Prediction: Andorra 0 Vs 3 Cyprus
Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Israel
Both teams have enjoyed mixed form during this European qualifying campaign and this likely to result in a very close game. Israel have nine points from five qualifying games and trail the top two (Wales and Belgium) by two points. As Wales and Belgium meet in this round of fixtures this could provide Israel the perfect chance to close the gap. Bosnia and Herzegovina have struggled in this qualifying campaign with 5 points from the same amount of games. A defeat in this game would be likely to end their top two ambitions. However with the top four best third placed teams qualifying for Euro 2016, a third place finish would not be out of the question for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Israel will start as favourites in this game but I can see Bosnia and Herzegovina edging a win in this game.
Prediction: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 vs 1 Israel
Wales Vs Belgium
A massive game for both of the top two in this group.
Wales would do well to draw this game which I think they will do.
Prediction:Wales 1 vs 1 Belgium
Belarus vs Spain
Spain have surprised many after they are second in group C and trail Slovakia by three points after five games. However with five games still left of the qualifying campaign, you would still except Spain to recover to win this group. Belarus on the other hand will try and intimidated Spain and you would except Belarus to be trying everything to park the bus to stop Spain from winning this game. Belarus currently sit in fourth place in the group and trail Spain in second by 8 points, this makes it likely that Belarus only hope of qualification is to qualify as one of the best placed third place teams.
Spain should win this game but I don’t see it being as comfortable as many have predicted.
Prediction: Belarus 0 v 1 Spain
Slovakia Vs Macedonia
Slovakia sitting on top of group C is probably a shock to many outsiders in this group who expected Spain and Ukraine to dominate this group. However the table never lies, and by beating Spain 1-0 at home you would have to say that Slovakia deserve to be top of the table. However Macedonia will not be an easy game as many would expect, as England fans will testify when Macedonia held the three lions to a draw back in the 2006 Euro qualification campaign. Of course the Macedonia squad has changed significantly, since the nine years have passed since then. Furthermore Macedonia hopes in this campaign look to be avoid bottom place rather than trouble the top half of this group, after only gaining three points from the opening five qualifying games.
A game which should test Slovakia qualities in breaking a team down, a challenge I believe they will pass.
Prediction: Slovakia 2 v 0 Macedonia
Ukraine vs Luxembourg
Ukraine know this a must win game as they sit in third place with nine points from the opening five group games. Anything but a win in this game would make finishing in the top two in this group very unlikely. However the minnows of Luxembourg will most likely be putting a 10 men behind the ball in this game in order to stop the expected Ukraine onslaught. Luxembourg only have one point from the opening five games, and know the game against Macedonia will be the most important game to win to avoid a bottom place in this group.
Ukraine should be strong enough to win this game by a wide margin, Luxembourg on the other hand will know this will be a very tough 90 minutes and will do well to keep the game tight.
Prediction: Ukraine 4 v 0 Luxembourg
Poland vs Georgia
Arguably this is the tightest group so far in this European campaign which sees 4 teams separated by only 3 points. Poland are on top of this group with eleven points from five games but will be aware anything but a win could see them drop to third. Georgia have only managed to win one game so far against the minnows Gibraltar and will be out to frustrate Poland. The strength of the Georgia defence in my opinion will be critical on the outcome of this game. So far in this campaign Georgia have performed well and have only lost games to Scotland and Germany by small margins.
I think Georgia will surprise many in this game and take a share of the spoils.
Prediction: Poland 1 v 1 Georgia
Republic of Ireland vs Scotland
A massive game between two teams both knowing a win is likely to see either team ending the night in top two automatic qualification positions. Scotland currently have ten points which is two more than Republic of Ireland and know that a draw away from home in front of a fierce irish fans would not be a terrible result. However Ireland will be this is a game which they need to win to ensure that they keep in touch with the top two in this group. A defeat for Ireland could make a top two finish looking increasing unlikely.
A tight game which neither side wants to lose, which is why I think they will be nothing to separate the teams.
Prediction: Republic of Ireland 1 vs 1 Scotland
Gibraltar Vs Germany
In the reverse fixture Germany only beat Gibraltar by four goals to nil. Only four? Well yes, the minnows of Gibraltar were expected to be beaten by double figures. Gibraltar knows that pride will be once again on the line and will see anything less than 3-0 defeat as a good result. Gibraltar will know that getting any points in this qualifying campaign will have to be seen as an achievement. However for Germany sitting second with ten points this game, Germany will be expected to win by a good margin and put in a near perfect performance.
Gibraltar surprised many with the result against Germany last time, Can they do it again. I think they can.
Prediction: Gibraltar 0 v 2 Germany
Slovenia vs England
From the most interesting to the most boring. However you will not hear many England fans complaining about a 100% win record halfway through this qualifying campaign. This game is a test which England should pass but they should not be complacent. Slovenia currently sit in second with 9 points which is six points behind England, and currently have a 100% home record in this European qualifying campaign. However England should still expect to win this game comfortably especially when you consider that Roy Hodgson has fully fit squad available at his disposable.
Slovenia is a test for England, but England should have more than enough in this game.
Prediction: Slovenia 0 vs 2 England
Lithuania vs Switzerland
A real test of Lithuania hopes of qualification will take place when they go to battle against Switzerland this weekend. Lithuania currently sit in fourth with nine points and trail Switzerland by three points. A win could boost hopes of a first ever appearance at a European Championship finals. On the other hand Switzerland know that a win will be needed to ensure that the gap between third and second is reduced.
A game which Switzerland should win, but I predict Lithuania will upset the odds.
Prediction: Lithuania 2 v 1 Switzerland
Estonia vs San Marino
A draw in the reverse game between these two side gave San Marino their only point in this group so far. However for Estonia a draw against the minnows of San Marino was an embarrassment and has contribute to a poor fifth place achieved in the group so far.
A dull game which I think Estonia will just edge.
Prediction: Estonia 1 v 0 San Marino
Finland vs Hungary
A critical game for both teams in this fixture with both teams cut adrift from the top two teams in group F. Hungary are currently four points ahead of Finland, and will be aware that this gap must be extended or maintained to ensure that automatic qualification hopes are maintained.
A tight game which I think has draw written all over it.
Prediction: Finland 0 vs 0 Hungary
Northern Ireland vs Romania
Northern Ireland must dream of qualification in Euro 2016 in France after an impressive start in Group F. They trail Romania at the top by one point and will be aware that a win will see them top the group. Romania will except a very hostile reception in this game and I believe a draw will not be the worse result they could achieve in this game.
Northern Ireland are on a good run and I can see this run continuing.
Prediction Northern Ireland 2 vs 0 Romania
Faroe Islands vs Greece
A shocking start to this campaign has been made by Greece as they sit bottom of this group with two points from the first five games. On other hand the Faroe Islands sit in fifth place, and must be enjoying for the time not finding themselves bottom of a qualification group. However Greece will know this will be a huge opportunity o find the first win of this campaign.
This campaign has so far be a disaster for Greece, this game should at least see Greece move off the bottom of the group.
Prediction: Faroe Islands 0 vs 2 Greece
Liechtenstein Vs Moldova
As many would have predicted these two sides currently sit within in the two bottom spots in Group G. Liechtenstein sit in fifth place with four points from their opening five games, in contrast Moldova sit bottom with one point from the five games in this group so far.
A tight game where a draw looks likely.
Prediction: Liechtenstein 1 Vs 1 Moldova
Austria vs Russia
Austria start to this European campaign has been very positive as they sit top of the table with thirteen points from five games. Russia have made a less inspiring start with only 8 points gained from their opening games and trail Sweden in second by one point.
An important game for both sides, Russia to secure a narrow win for me. #
Prediction: Austria 1 vs 2 Russia
Sweden vs Montenegro
Sweden were strong favourites to win this group when the groups draw was made a couple of years ago. However three draw in their first five games has been a major factor on why Sweden are not top of the group. Montenegro are currently fourth but with five points from the same amount of games they will be aware that a win over Sweden would boost any hopes they had of finishing in the top three.
Sweden are a strong team at home and should have enough to beat Montenegro.
Prediction: Sweden 3 vs 1 Montenegro
Croatia vs Italy
The top two in Group H meet in this fixture and should be an entertaining game with both teams aiming to the end the game top of the group. Croatia have thirteen points which is two points of Italy and have won all three home games in this group so far. Italy are unbeaten from home but will know that the unbeaten record will be put under strain by Croatia in this fixture.
A fixture which is too tight to call, that why I am going for a draw.
Prediction: Croatia 1 vs 1 Italy
Malta vs Bulgaria
So far both of these sides would have been disappointed with the way that this campaign has been panned out. However since the start of the campaign both teams have lost in tight games and will expect to collect full points in this fixture. Malta could move off bottom of the group fixture and Bulgaria would boost any hopes of getting to Euro 2016 with a win.
Both teams are unlikely to feature at Euro 2016 but Bulgaria should have the edge in this game.
Prediction: Malta 0 vs 2 Bulgaria
Norway vs Azerbaijan
As Croatia and Italy play each other this fixture gives Norway the opportunity to cut the gap between them and the top two. Azerbaijan have never qualified for the European Championships and with only three points so far in this campaign a trip to the Euros looks very unlikely for Azerbaijan.
Norway will cut the gap with victory in this fixture and I think it will be comfortable.
Prediction Norway 3 vs 0 Azerbaijan
Unlike the other groups in the European championships qualifying stage, group I only has five teams competing.
Portugal vs Armenia
The strongest and weakest team meet in this fixture with Portugal strong favourites to come out as winners. Despite winning their opening four games out of five, Portugal only just remain top of this group by two points. Armenia so far only have one point and will know increasing their points total in this game will be difficult.
A must win game for Portugal which should be achieved with relatively ease.
Prediction: Portugal 4 vs 0 Armenia
Denmark vs Serbia
Despite Serbia only gaining one point in this group so far, I think the test that Denmark face will be harder than many are predicting. Serbia have great experience players such as Dusan Tadic who plays for Southampton in the Premier League. Denmark will be aware with Portugal likely to beat Armenia, a victory over Serbia will be needed to ensure the gap between the top two does not widen.
A difficult test for Denmark but it is a test which I think they will pass.
Prediction: Denmark 2 vs 1 Serbia