Listen, international football is what it is – a week off from your compulsive fantasy football checking, a chance for your favourite players to get injured while away on duty and an opportunity to see your national identity get stripped away by a load of postmen in Gibraltar.
So, why not make it profitable at least?
There’s always that – and we think we’ve found a shrewd treble to try make the most of a manic Monday of international action.
Kosovo v Bulgaria: Bulgaria – 15/8
D’ya ever remember those clichés you hear in the Sky studio about certain places being ‘tough places to go’?
I really hope whatever indifferent broadcaster is covering this game gets their pundits to say that about Kosovo, just for my own amusement. I mean – ‘yes mate, Kosovo is certainly a tough place to go alright’.
I understand this game could be a trap by picking the more established nation, but in reality, the only decent sides that Kosovo have played so far since being officially recognised by FIFA are Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Senegal. Turkey and Ukraine.
They’ve lost 11 of those 13 games.
Now, Bulgaria are no great shakes. Dimitar Berbatov gave them a false sense of comfort in their lacking ability for a few years, but the only player that plays a decent level in their squad is probably Ivaylo Chochev at Palermo.
Their third-choice ‘keeper plays for Accrington Stanley, though – so at least there’s that. A classic it will not be, but it should at least be an away win.
France v Iceland: France to score three or more goals – 10/11
Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, Florian Thauvin, Nabil Fekir.
If the French were trying to keep the score down, they’d probably fail, such is the plethora of talent and ego in equal measure among the world champions. While you can always be wary of a double header producing less goals in the latter half, sometimes it becomes a case where that evens itself out when a weaker nation come to town.
Iceland have more important games than this French one, and they might just accept their fate once the almost evitable first French goal rolls in.
Feast, my friends.
Montenegro v England: England to score two or more goals – 8/13
While I’m very much aware that Brexit Means Brexit, Podgorica is probably a place most Englishmen would be happy to never be allowed to visit – deal or no deal.
Southgate’s got an array of talent in this current England crop and his attitude is refreshing in that he never allows their standards to drop in qualifiers. As is the case with the French above, Montenegro are far more keen to pick up points against the weaker sides, rendering this game all but meaningless for them in the grand scheme of things.
If Southgate decides to rest Kane and Sterling? Callum Wilson has more ability in his left leg than the majority of Montenegro when it comes to football.
Sometimes we need to stop hyping these games up too much and just call them what they are – a cakewalk for the larger nations.
* All odds correct at time of posting.