Belgium v Israel – 13 October
Israel slipped to fourth behind Bosnia and Herzegovina after losing at home to Cyprus at the weekend and must now win and hope the Bosnians drop points in Cyprus in order to claim a play-off place.
However Belgium have a five year unbeaten record in qualifiers and the young, dynamic side will be aiming to continue to perform going into the Euros after disappointing in Brazil last year.
It doesn’t help Israel’s chances that the country is in dire form at the moment – of the last six qualifiers all played in 2015 they have won only one, against Andorra, and a creditable draw against a misfiring Wales.
The first game against these two sides was a close affair as well. An early Marouane Fellaini goal was enough for the Red Devils, despite Vincent Kompany’s sending off on the hour mark.
Prediction – Belgium are hot favourites for this and rightly so, but with qualification all sewn up, players could be forgiven for easing back with the domestic fixtures this weekend. Israel will be going all out for the win, but won’t get, it. Buy Draw Over with the Spiffindex at 5.2.
Cyprus v Bosnia – 13 October
Cyprus gave themselves a slim lifeline for qualification when they defeated Israel last weekend and will be hoping to maintain that momentum with this final home tie against Bosnia And Herzegovina, who currently sit third in the table.
With the automatic places already taken by Wales and Belgium, there is a three way race for the play-off berth between these two teams and Israel so there is still everything to play for. Cyprus need to win here and hope that Israel do not beat Belgium. Bosnia need at least a draw and will need a win if Israel take three points.
It’s an exciting end to the group and the Bosnians will be very wary of a Cypriot side that has already beaten them during this qualifying campaign. Dimitris Christofi struck twice after Vedad Ibišević opened the scoring as Cyprus posted a shock 2-1 victory in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 9 September 2014.
However Cyprus seem to be better away from home – they have won only one of their last eight competitive home fixtures (W1 D2 L5) – a 5-0 success against Andorra in November 2014. But Bosnia have only won away once during qualifying – against Andorra.
Prediction – Bosnia will be on a high after their 2-0 victory over Wales at weekend, but Cyprus will hold no fear in trying to wrest away that final play off spot with another unexpected victory. Buy Cyprus Over with the Spiffindex at 4.8.
Netherlands v Czech Republic – 13 October
The Netherlands, who must beat the Czech Republic to have any chance of a play-off place, are two points behind Turkey and are also behind them on head-to-head record. Should Turkey avoid defeat against Iceland, the Oranje would miss their first UEFA EURO finals since 1984.
Such an outcome seems likely as they are playing an accomplished Czech Republic side who have smoothly qualified for France, beating the Netherlands along the way.
The Dutch side are a bit of a mess and there appears to have been little progress since bringing in Danny Blind as manager earlier this year, as the training ground spat between Robin van Persie and Memphis Depay seems to characterise the lack of harmony in the squad.
The Netherlands also have a poor record against the Czech Republic (and Czechoslovakia before that) meaning that the omens are not good.
Prediction – The Czech Republic are a barely believable 8.0 on the Spiffindex and with the Dutch set to implode again, expect the Czechs to come away with another win. Buy Czech Republic Under.
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