As Premier League football concludes for a fortnight, fans can look forward (or not so forward) to another international break.
Whilst England has two favorable fixtures against lesser opposition and has secured their spot on the plane to Qatar, both Scotland and Wales have a crucial pair of fixtures to secure playoffs. Whilst the two Irish outfits play for pride in both Group A and C.
The Three Lions haven’t quite secured their place atop of Group I, however, Gareth Southgate’s side shouldn't be troubled by their upcoming fixtures against Albania and San Marino.
The toughest test will come against Albania in their opening fixture of this upcoming break. England did beat the Red and Blacks in the reverse fixture, but the Albanians still have hope of achieving a playoff spot. This may not be an easy win for England, but they are still heavy favorites at 1/11 compared to Albania’s odds which are at 55/2 with STSBet.
Whilst Albania may seem like a long shot at 55/2, they have nothing on the odds that will be given to San Marino. The small republic off the side of Italy is a poor outfit at the international level and they won’t pose any threat to England on the final matchday. They still haven’t got a point in Group I and that probably won’t change during this round of international fixtures.
England should win their pair of matches and top Group I.
Whilst England has booked their ticket to Qatar, they’ll be a sense of nervousness in Wales as they play two crucial World Cup qualifiers in the next international break. They sit third in the group, just behind the Czech Republic, but they hold a game-in-hand and one victory may just be enough to secure a play-off place.
Wales’ first encounter of this international break is Belarus. The more favorable matchup of the two, Belarus shouldn’t cause Wales a problem. They sit bottom of the group on three points and they haven’t secured any points since matchday two. And despite them giving Wales a scare - 3-2 back on matchday five - Wales are odds on at 2/13.
A win for Wales would give them a three-point advantage over the Czech Republic heading into the final matchday. However, Wales’ final opponent is the table-toppers Belgium. Roberto Martinez’s side can’t be caught atop the group, and they could play spoiler to Wales’ World Cup dream should they win by a heavy enough amount on matchday ten.
This group is going down to the final day. Wales can secure a playoff spot with four points but it could prove a difficult task for The Dragons.
Much like Wales, Scotland’s World Cup dream rests on the final two matchdays of World Cup qualifiers. The Scots are second in their group, two points ahead of third-place Israel, and one win can maintain their play-off spot and give them a chance of going to the 2022 World Cup.
The most likely game for them to earn three points is against Moldova. Despite the fact they are away from home, Moldova should cause no threat to Steve Clarke’s side. The Moldovans have a singular point through eight matchdays, and with so much on the line, Scotland could put an exclamation point on their qualifying campaign with a strong performance against Moldova.
The final game for Scotland is the group leaders Denmark. The Danes are the only 100% team left - Eight wins, no draws no losses - and Scotland will not want to let their fate rest on this fixture at Hampden Park.
Scotland is likely to secure their spot with a victory in Moldova, reflected by their 23/100 odds with STSBet.