European Qualifying Group Eight

7th October 2009 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions
World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions

GROUP EIGHT

Group Eight has been all about the methodical progress of Italy towards World Cup 2010. The World Champions are heading back to defend their title, although they haven’t wrapped the group up yet. They are involved in a big match on Saturday, and if they lose that, then it could put some serious pressure on that number one spot. Who can steal it from them? The Irish. The two teams go head to head in Ireland on Saturday.

World Cup Qualification Europe Group 8

  Country P W D L Diff. Points
1 Italy 10 7 3 0 11 24
2 Ireland 10 4 6 0 4 18
3 Bulgaria 10 3 5 2 4 14
4 Cyprus 10 2 3 5 -2 9
5 Montenegro 10 1 6 3 -5 9
6 Georgia 10 0 3 7 -12 3
               
  Last Update: 15/10/2009          

Remaining Matches
October 10th
Montenegro v Georgia
Cyprus v Bulgaria
Ireland v Italy

October 14th
Ireland v Montenegro
Italy v Cyprus
Bulgaria v Georgia

ITALY

The defending champions have not had much trouble progressing through the qualifying rounds, and now face what could be their final test on Saturday. They travel to Ireland needing only a point to seal the group ahead of their closest rivals. The Italians as ever, have been efficient and productive, as well as being very tight in their defensive unit, as to be expected with an Italian team. They have only dropped points in two draws against Ireland and Bulgaria, and apart from those games have scored two goals in each of their six victories. That’s a good stat to make a bet with. It has been a concerted team effort, with seven players chipping in for their total of 13 goals. The group on paper looked like quite a tricky one, with teams like Ireland, Montenegro and Bulgaria, but the Italians have been very professional and generally unfazed by it all. That is the sign of a good team.
Ireland to win: 6/4 at 888Sport
Draw: 2/1 at Betfair
Italy: 12/5 at Boylesports

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Have played their way into a great position, and remain unbeaten during qualifying. That says a lot about their temperament, their resilience and their skill. Robbie Keane is their top scorer with 5 goals, half of the Irish total. They have kept themselves in contention well, and now have the chance to topple the mighty Italians. A win on Saturday in Dublin, would mean that the Irish can close the gap to one point on the Italians. That would make for a fascinating round of matches on Wednesday night. They will have to perform without Damien Duff, Darron Gibson and Steven Reid though, due to injuries. This will be an immense chance for Ireland’s Italian boss Gionvanni Trappatoni to get one up on his home nation. They stay in Ireland for their final match on Wednesday too, when Cyprus come to visit. Ireland won in Cyprus in their last qualifying game, to set up the chance of a big finish. They should be able to finish second comfortably enough, as it’s likely only a point will be needed  for that.

BULGARIA

Seems like to drawing a lot, something which this group has seen a lot of. They have only picked up two wins, but five draws, which has kept them in with an outside chance of pinching second, should they win both of their last games and Ireland lose both of theirs. Their best result came in a 4-1 win over Montenegro, but haven’t shown a lot of promise that they can genuinely challenge for a spot in World Cup 2010 at all. More of a stubborn nuisance of a team, than one that poses a threat. It is hard to tell if they are on the verge of pushing on to be a competitive team, or one clinging onto a station just above being totally un-noteworthy.
Cyprus to win: 7/2 at SkyBet
Draw:
12/5 at BetFred
Bulgaria: Evens at Bet365

CYPRUS
No impact has been made either in the group by the Cypriots. They have just one win earlier in the year against Georgia, and that has clearly been their highlight. Cyprus have to play Italy in their last game, and if things go certain ways on Saturday, could stand between the Italians winning the group.

MONTENEGRO
Interest fact about Montenegro is that they are the last nation to join FIFA. They were paired up with Bosnia before, but because of the split, have had to start off at the bottom and work their way up the rankings. This is their first qualifying campaign as a separate nation, and are still looking for that first win. Have held out for five drawn matches though. They play in Ireland on Wednesday, in what could be an important fixture for the home nation.
Montenegro to win: 7/10 at Totesport
Draw: 11/4 at Bet365
Georgia: 4/11 at Coral

GEORGIA
They have three points to their name from three drawn games. Have only scored 4 goals, and the game on Saturday against Montenegro will be something of a challenge to pick up some more points, in the basement battle.

WHAT IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN
The way things have happened in this group, probably means that Ireland and Italy will draw on Saturday in Dublin. This will be enough for the Italians to win the group, and for Ireland to book second place. Bulgaria will fail to beat Cyprus, as they’ll only pick up a draw too, so the group will be settled before Wednesday’s action.

TO WIN GROUP EIGHT

Italy: 1/66 at BlueSquare
Ireland: 20/1 at SkyBet

Ireland to fail to Qualify for World Cup 2010: 4/7 at Paddy Power
Ireland to Qualify for World Cup 2010: 13/8 at Paddy Power

 



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