Back to business
The World Cup qualifiers return this week, and Scotland face their first test since bombing out of Euro 2020 at the group stages. Manager Steve Clarke’s side travel to Telia Parken to face Denmark.
This promises to be a fascinating contest involving the two highest-ranked teams in the pool. The Danes currently sit in pole position, four points ahead of their opponents. A home win would see Denmark take a huge step towards booking their place at next year’s World Cup, while victory for the Scots would blow the group open.
Denmark bring a perfect record
Denmark have been faultless in their World Cup qualifying campaign so far, winning each of the three previous group matches to pull in a maximum of nine points. The locals have been simply superb, scoring 14 goals and failing to concede in over 270 minutes of football at this level.
Kasper Hjulman’s men now take on their main rivals for the top spot and understand the importance of continuing that winning ways if they are to make it to Qatar next year and continue their rise through the ranks.
They were last seen in action at Euro 2020 when losing to England in the semi-finals, but the Three Lions needed extra time to see off the Red and White. Mikkel Damsard netted a stunning freekick on 30 minutes to break the deadlock, but England drew level shortly after, Simon Kjaer turning the ball into his net on 39 minutes. Harry Kane was the star of the day when the Tottenham striker scored the winner in the early exchanges of extra-time.
Scotland unbeaten in three
Scotland is the only other unbeaten team in this group, but they have five points on the board following back-to-back draws with a win in their most recent qualifier. The Tartan Army watched as their team end 2-2 at home to Austria then 1-1 in Israel. Two matches many followers expected them to win, but Scotland lost the opening goal in each. They picked up their first victory when smashing the Faroe Islands 4-0 in Glasgow.
During those World Cup qualifying group games, there was a feeling that everyone with a connection to Scotland had one eye on the summer’s Euro 2020 adventure. The nation returned to the big stage following more than two decades watching from the sidelines, but things didn’t go according to plan. Scotland ended bottom of their group, having drawn with England at Wembley, and losing to the Czech Republic and Croatia.
Clarke now travels with several key players missing, including rising star Nathan Patterson of Rangers. He joins Stephen O’Donnell, Kevin Nisbet and John McGinn on the missing list. Others not on the plane are James Forrest, Greg Taylor, Scott McTominay and Stuart Armstrong.
Stats show Scots lead the way
Scotland would see a draw as a decent result in that match, but the stats show these teams have never produced a level finish. The head-to-head scores reveal Scotland boast ten wins against the six of Denmark. The Scots have also won each of the last two. An away win can be backed at 8.615/2 with the draw trading at odds of 4.67/2 on the Exchange.
Denmark holds the home advantage and have much the better form of the two teams. They endured a rollercoaster summer at Euro 2020 but found their feet and went close to winning the competition. They will be one of the favourites in the early World Cup 2022 betting, and if they win this match, they can start planning. Denmark is 1.4740/85 to continue their form and secure another three points.
Expect a competitive contest
Sticking with the stats when looking into the specials markets, we note there has been no more than one goal between these teams in each of their last five meetings. That is also true of Denmark’s last two starts and in three of Scotland’s five most recent games.
Under 2.5 goals is worth considering at 1.768/11 while those who expect a free-scoring 90 minutes can take over the same line at 2.186/5.