World Cup Qualifiers Preview: England odds-on to book place in Qatar

World Cup Qualifiers Preview: England odds-on to book place in Qatar

England can seal their qualification for the World Cup in Qatar if they beat Albania at Wembley on Friday night and Poland fail to beat Andorra.

Gareth Southgate’s men lead Group I by by three points from the Poles but, a 1-1 draw with Hungary at Wembley last month, means England will have to work a little harder than might have been expected to secure their place in the finals.

England are 1.132/15 to beat Albania – a team they beat 2-0 in the reverse fixture in this qualifying campaign – but Southgate will urge his players to take nothing for granted.

The draw against Hungary was disappointing, especially as England had let slip a lead against Poland in the prior round, and the Three Lions will hope to banish any hint of complacency with comprehensive wins in their final two fixtures.

They will finish with a trip to San Marino on Monday (14 November). Fans of a certain age will remember the last time England finished World Up qualifying there – in 1993 when England failed to reach USA ’94. That night England won 7-1 but only after San Marino went 1-0 up in the first minute.

We should expect no such drama this time.

Wales must keep up pressure on Czechs

Wales are battling the Czech Republic to finish second in Group E and secure a place in the World Cup qualifying play-offs.

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Robert Page’s men followed a hard-fought 2-2 draw against the Czechs with a 1-0 win over Estonia last time out. They can’t afford to take their foot of the pedal when they host Belarus on Saturday.

Wales are 1.211/5 to win but, although Belarus are bottom of the group, the Welsh had to work for their 3-2 win in Minsk in September.

That they travel to group leaders Belgium for their final match on Tuesday, gives Wales added impetus to make sure they take maximum points against Belarus on Saturday.

Scots out to secure second place

Scotland have won four in a row and head into the final round second in Group F and four points head of Israel in third.

Steve Clarke’s players are heavy odds-on to secure the runners-up spot with a win against Moldova on Friday.

Moldova have taken just one point from their eight matches so far so nothing short of a win will satisfy Clarke. If they take three points, then the pressure will be off when Scotland go to high-flying group leaders Denmark, who have already booked their place at the World Cup, on Tuesday.

European champs host Swiss in decider while Irish play for pride

Italy and Switzerland are level on points at the top of Group C ahead of their showdown in Rome on Friday night.

The hosts are 1.674/6 for the win, with the visitors 5.59/2 and the draw 3.814/5.

The Euro 2020 champions are 1.21/5 to win the group, with the Swiss 4.57/2 on the Exchange. The teams played out a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture, although Roberto Mancini’s men were 3-0 winners when they met at the Euros in the summer.

Elsewhere, Republic of Ireland, who can’t qualify for the World Cup, are 10.519/2 when they host Portugal on Friday. The big price on Stephen Kenny’s men belies the fact they came close to beating the Portuguese in September before a late Cristiano Ronaldo brace earned a 3-2 win.

Northern Ireland are also out of contention for Qatar qualification but are odds-on to beat Lithuania, the only team below them in Group C, at Windsor Park on Friday night.

You’ll be able to read previews and get tips for all the matches mentioned here and much more on Betting.Betfair later this week.