October 6, 2006
Euro 2008 Qualifying Preview: Matchday 3
Kazakhstan v. Poland – The Kazaks are off to a rather good start in their first European Championship campaign with two draws from two matches. They face a Poland side which should be able to beat them, but they have not looked particularly good in their opening fixtures.
Kazakhstan 1-1 Poland
Armenia v. Finland – Finland find themselves top of the group on goal difference, but they proved to be a force to be reckoned with in their 1-1 draw with Portugal. You might as well give them the three points here.
Armenia 0-3 Finland
Serbia v. Belgium – Serbia hasn’t looked particularly good in their opening matches, but they find themselves second in the group. Warning signs are there for Belgium especially in attack. They have four points as a result of the single goal they scored against Armenia and their stalemate at home to Kazakhstan.
Serbia 1-0 Belgium
Portugal v. Azerbaijan – Portugal were fortunate to take a point from their group opener against Finland, but this should be an easy three points.
Portugal 5-0 Azerbaijan
Faroe Islands v. Lithuania – Normally somewhat competitive, the Faroe Islands have taken several steps backward and they will be lucky to keep Lithuania below four goals.
Faroe Islands 0-6 Lithuania
Scotland v. France – It’s good times for the Tartan Army as Scotland sits on top of a group containing Italy and France. The reality they face tomorrow is that France will be much, much more difficult than the Faroes or Lithuania.
Scotland 1-2 France
Italy v. Ukraine – With a single point from their opening two matches, Italy are finally going to take things seriously. At least they hope they can find some form against a Ukrainian side featuring a badly out of form Andriy Shevchenko.
Italy 1-1 Ukraine
Moldova v. Bosnia-Herzegovina – Three points to Bosnia.
Moldova 0-2 Bosnia
Hungary v. Turkey – Hungary followed up a 4-1 loss to Norway with a 3-1 win over Bosnia, so it’s difficult to predict which team will decide to show up against Turkey. A 2-0 win over Malta was good enough to move Turkey up to second in the group, but this is superior opposition. It is still a winnable match for them however.
Hungary 2-2 Turkey
Greece v. Norway – The holders play their second qualifier against an in-form Norwegian side. Needing some firepower in attack, Greece recalled Georgios Samaras to the squad. Norway are hoping to extend their winning run and move closer to qualifying.
Greece 1-1 Norway
Wales v. Slovakia – Ryan Giggs is out for Wales and they will be captained by Craig Bellamy. Wales head in as favorites, but there really is no reason why they should be. Slovakia to take the points emphatically.
Wales 0-3 Slovakia
Czech Republic v. San Marino – 13-0 may not be the worst defeat San Marino take in this group.
Czech Republic 8-0 San Marino
Cyprus v. Ireland – Slovakia pumped Cyprus for six goals in their last qualifier, but they face a winnable match against Ireland. Shay Given is out with that bowel injury and manager Steve Staunton really has no idea what he is doing.
Cyprus 2-1 Ireland
Russia v. Israel – Guus Hiddink’s side couldn’t break through against Croatia in their opener, and pressure will be on him to get a win at home. Israel are off to a fantastic start to qualifying and they have an opportunity to get some separation from the other contenders for second spot should they somehow take the points.
Russia 1-1 Israel
England v. Macedonia – The England squad thinks Steve McClaren has no idea what he is doing. That idea has taken away from the previous buildup of England not winning things and Wayne Rooney putting eight into Macedonia’s goal. England will probably manage to only take a point leading to calls for McClaren to be sacked.
England 1-1 Macedonia
Croatia v. Andorra – The current high score against Andorra in the group is five. Croatia will take their shot and perhaps reach double digits.
Croatia 7-0 Andorra
Denmark v. Northern Ireland – Denmark should be worried going into their second qualifing match against Northern Ireland. Last month, Lawrie Sanchez was being questioned about his future with the national team, and he responded with a shock 3-2 win over Spain. The rumors have already started up again. Could it happen again?
Denmark 2-1 N. Ireland
Latvia v. Iceland – Latvia played well in defeat to Sweden last time out and they could be expected to win against easier opposition. Iceland opened with a 3-0 demolition of Northern Ireland, then fell on their faces against Denmark. Eidur Gudjohnsen will probably score and take the national team goalscoring record for himself.
Latvia 2-1 Iceland
Sweden v. Spain – The top two sides in the group battle for supremacy with Spain looking to prove that the defeat at the hands of David Healy was just a fluke. Sweden’s manager Lars Lagerback is under pressure for his handling of moody striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but I see the rest of the squad responding well without the Inter striker. Raul was surprisingly dropped by Spain coach Luis Aragones, which could turn out to be a regrettable decision.
Sweden 1-1 Spain
Romania v. Belarus – The hosts have to be favored for this one as they have looked good in their opening two fixtures, a 2-2 draw with Bulgaria and 2-0 win over Albania. Belarus, on the other hand, are off to a shaky start with a terrible 2-2 draw with Albania being followed up by a destruction at the hands of the Dutch. Romania will probably score a pair, but they could come from anywhere on the pitch.
Romania 2-1 Belarus
Bulgaria v. Netherlands – Marco van Basten has been underfire for his handling of Ruud van Nistelrooy and Mark van Bommel, which led to both of their international retirements. With over half the country wanting him sacked if he fails to take maximum points this week, he opens with a difficult trip to Bulgaria. They may be without Dimitar Berbatov, but they have many more attacking options.
Bulgaria 1-2 Netherlands
Slovenia v. Luxembourg – Many, many goals will be scored at the Petrol Arena.
Slovenia 5-0 Luxembourg