Northern Ireland vs Germany: Germany (-1) – 5/6
Germany’s collapse against the Netherlands on Friday was about the worst thing that could have happened to Northern Ireland’s qualification prospects.
Not only does it mean that Germany will arrive at Windsor Park with a ferocious appetite to put things right, but it now makes it highly unlikely that the Green and White Army finish in the top two.
Northern Ireland needed one of Germany or Holland to beat the other home and away and then hope that they could somehow muster a victory against the team that had been vanquished. Even then, that might not have been enough.
As it stands, they will need to secure at least two wins from four games against the heavyweights and it is extremely hard to see that happening.
They come up against a German team that will be smarting from Friday night’s defeat at home to the Dutch. To concede four goals in 22 second-half minutes will have annoyed and the Germans will take it out on the group leaders on Monday.
Germany’s last visit to Belfast resulted in a comfortable 3-1 win for the then World Champions and it wouldn’t be surprising to see a similar margin of victory again.
Scotland vs Belgium: Belgium (-1) – 11/10
Scotland’s hopes of qualifying via the conventional route for Euro 2020 disappeared in a cloud of smoke on Friday night as they squandered a lead against Russia.
There is now virtually no hope of the Scots usurping the Russians in the second qualifying spot in Group I, and it remains to be seen whether they’ll even finish above the mighty Kazakhstan.
Luckily for Scotland, they do have the fallback of a play-off courtesy of their Nations League showing and they will surely now focus all of their efforts on readying themselves for those crucial games next spring.
Steve Clark would be well advised to experiment this autumn and find his best XI ahead of the play-offs, starting with this home game against Belgium.
Scotland’s prospects of beating the number one ranked side in the world were never exactly high to begin with and it doesn’t really matter if they are well beaten so long as they learn a few lessons in the process.
The Scots might as well have a go on Monday night since this is virtually a free hit against one of the best teams in the world, but they should be ultimately comfortably beaten well by a team that has yet to drop points in qualifying.
Hungary v Slovakia: Hungary to win – 13/10
This is one that Wales fans will be keeping an eye on in what has become easily the tightest group in qualifying.
Only three points separate four teams and any combination of countries could feasibly make it to the main event next summer.
However, Slovakia’s comprehensive defeat at home to Croatia on Friday has put them in a perilous position and it feels as though they need a win in Hungary if they are to have any hope of qualifying from the group.
The Slovaks handed Hungary their only defeat in Group E with a 2-0 win on the opening day.
However, Hungary have since recorded impressive home wins over Wales and Croatia in Budapest, which sandwiched an away win in Azerbaijan. Hungary’s good form, coupled with Slovakia’s 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Croatia, makes us think that they’ll continue their fine recent form with another home win.
* All odds correct at time of posting.