So it’s T-minus nine days until the resumption of the Premier League, but in the meantime there’s plenty of international matches to keep us occupied. And, while it’s hard to get enthusiastic about Georgia v Cyprus or Portugal v Saudi Arabia, Friday serves up one or two fixtures that can wet the whistle.
We’ve picked out three of the more interesting clashes from the day’s games and put together a treble that may well help to speed up the passing of the interlull.
Italy to beat Sweden – 5/4
Ok, so the Azzurri didn’t exactly set the world alight in their qualifying group, but they still only lost one of their ten games, and that was to Spain. Gian Piero Ventura is under severe pressure to get his side on the plane to Russia, and Italian managers have a pretty unimpeachable reputation of doing what needs to be done when it counts.
They’re a famously resilient lot, and you’d back against Italy at your peril.
Sweden don’t look a particularly fearsome side, despite all the usual clichés about organisation and spirit. On paper, there’s no real comparison with the Italians, so there’s no reason to expect a win for Janne Andersson’s side.
Italy have what it takes to win this one, and at 5/4 the value lies with them.
Germany to beat England & Under 4.5 Total Match Goals – 7/5
Germany have a pretty decent chance of winning the World Cup. England don’t.
Admittedly, this is a friendly, and Jogi Loew’s side don’t always give everything they’ve got in non-competitive matches, but the Germans look a superior outfit. All the more so given the raft of withdrawals from the England squad for this fixture.
Some will predict a bit of a thrashing to be dealt out by the reigning World Champions, but this could be a closer-run thing than expected:
in 20 qualifying matches, these two teams conceded just seven goals between them.
Both are miserly in terms of conceding goals, but Germany’s 43 goals in their ten qualifiers, compared to England’s 18, suggests they’ll come out on top.
It would be a surprise if there were more than four goals in this one.
Australia & Draw (Double Chance) against Honduras – 8/11
The Socceroos, it’s fair to say, are not a great side. They finished third in their Asian qualifying group (third stage) and scraped past Syria in a playoff to make it to this point.
Honduras, however, are not up to much either.
They edged out the US on the last day of CONCACAF qualifying, but still contrived to finish behind Costa Rica and Panama in what is unquestionably the second-weakest qualifying zone.
Although Australia are away from home in this leg, they’re capable of getting a draw, and may even have enough to snatch a win. The price of 8/11 looks pretty generous for this market, considering you’re backing any result except a Honduras win.
A stake of £/€1 returns £/€9.33.
- Germany to beat England & Under 4.5 Total Match Goals – 7/5
- Italy to beat Sweden – 5/4
- Australia to draw or beat Honduras (Double Chance) – 8/11
Odds correct at time of posting.