BTTS COUPON – 19th November
Tuesday sees the culmination of the World Cup play-offs as nations try desperately to secure their places at next summer’s tournament. There are one of two ties that are effectively over outside of Europe but with the four UEFA zone matches the balance hangs on a knife-edge.
There are also a number of exhibition matches being played across the globe. Here’s a treble, I quite fancy.
EGYPT V GHANA. 4PM
This African play-off has already been decided thanks to Ghana’s 6-1 thumping of Egypt in Kusami last month.
However, the home support will not allow Egypt to simply give up and will be expecting their team to at least restore some pride by winning this second-leg. The Pharoes know that qualification is beyond them but a loss here would be deemed unacceptable and so their team must attack from the off.
In Kusami, they were outclassed from start to finish but even so they were able to score once and with ex-Premiership forward Amr Zaki, along with Mohamed Salah they should feel confident of at least getting on the scoreboard once more.
As for the away side, they don’t need to push but they are the better side and one goal would put that final nail in the coffin and secure their place in Brazil.
SWEDEN V PORTUGAL. 7:45PM
Cristiano Ronaldo’s late winner in Lisbon hands Portugal the initiative but they know the job is far from complete and will need to be at their best if they are going to get the job finished in Stockholm.
This time last year, Zlatan Ibrahimovic absolutely tore England apart and we know that the talented talisman is capable of turning the tie around. Since opening the Friends Arena in that fixture last November, Sweden have scored in all but one of the matches played there and will need to repeat that feat again if they are to have any chance of qualification. They managed to put 3 past Germany last month and you certainly wouldn’t back against them finding the net again here.
Meanwhile, any side that boasts Cristiano Ronaldo will have a great chance of scoring. The superstar has already hit 30 goals for club and country this term and his team will certainly look to him for inspiration in Stockholm. He is the catalyst for everything Portugal do and you have to fancy him to score at some point in the encounter.
Predicting the outcome of this one is immensely difficult but on Swedish soil you’d have to fancy both team to score.
POLAND V REPUBLIC OF IRELAND. 7:45PM
Martin O’Neill’s reign got off to a flying start with a resounding 3-0 win over Latvia on Friday night and the Ireland manager will be hoping his side can register an equally positive result in Poland.
With Robbie Keane, Aidan McGeady and Shane Long all scoring during Friday’s victory, the Irish front line will look to take advantage of a poor Polish defence that conceded twice against Slovakia in their first match since ex-gaffer Waldermar Fornalik stepped down following his country’s failure to reach Brazil.
New head coach, Adam Nawalka, will want to prove that he is the right man to take the team forward and will want to bounce back from Friday’s terrible display against Slovakia. With Robert Lewandowski and captain Jakub Błaszczykowski, amongst others, there is no reason that they can’t finally give Polish supporters something to cheer about after a tragically disappointing past few months.
Poland will be favourites with the bookies but there is no reason that Ireland can’t cause a few problems. It should be a gripping contest regardless.
A £10 treble pays £71.07 with William Hill.