Spain’s passage through Group F has been so laboured, that it is surprising that they had not dropped points prior to Saturday’s draw with Norway. The 2008 and 2012 European champions have been in a state of steady decline since that second triumph in Poland and the Ukraine and this is arguably their worst team in over a decade.
They struggled at home to Norway earlier in the year and they toiled for long periods against the Swedes in Madrid before eventually overcoming them in the closing stages. It could be a similar scenario in Sweden on Tuesday night.
The Swedes can’t afford many slip-ups in the race for the second qualifying spot as they hold a slender one-point advantage over third placed Romania. Fourth placed Norway, who are just four points behind their neighbours, are also lurking in the wings and will look for any chances Sweden offer them.
Spain, meanwhile, could qualify with a point on Tuesday if results go favourably for them. However, with a home game against Malta to come, qualification is virtually guaranteed anyway. Sweden’s need for points is far greater and that could prove pivotal in the end.
Verdict: Sweden (+1) @ 10/11.
It really is a huge night in Group F. Victory for Romania would propel them into the qualification spots should Sweden fail to beat Spain, while anything but a win would effectively end Norway’s hopes of qualifying via the groups.
That has been Norway’s chief problem in their opening seven games; the Scandinavians have proved themselves incredibly difficult to beat, but in turn have only beaten Malta and the Faroe Islands.
The picture could be so different were it not for injury-time goals. The Norwegians have twice salvaged last gasp draws with 94th and 97th minute equalisers against Spain and Sweden respectively.
On the other hand, the concession of a 92nd-minute equaliser at home to Tuesday’s opponents Romania saw them cough up two costly points. Norway still have the fallback of a Nations League play-off if they fail to qualify from Group F and it looks likely that they will have to do so.
It could be a tale of same old, same old for Norway on Tuesday as they have to settle for yet another stalemate.
Verdict: Draw @ 2/1
It could be a case of too little, too late for Bosnia after an unforgivably bad start to Group J. A costly draw at home to Greece, coupled with comprehensive defeats in Finland and Armenia have almost certainly laid waste to their chances of qualifying through the group.
Luckily for Bosnia, they are also guaranteed a spot in the Nations League play-offs, so failure to bridge the gap to second placed Finland won’t be terminal. Still, if the chance to qualify automatically arises, Bosnia will surely want to take it and they will have to win their remaining three games in order to do so.
They will have to atone for their earlier draw at home to the Greeks who are without a win in their previous six competitive games and who have seen their campaign descend into farce where their most recent home game saw them draw against Liechtenstein in front of just 3,000 people.
Bosnia simply don’t deserve to qualify – either through the groups or through the play-offs – if they can’t beat this Greek side home and away.
Verdict: Bosnia @ 6/5
*Prices correct at time of publication and pays approx 11/1 with the odds quoted.