European Qualifying Group Three

5th October 2009 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Previews & Predictions
World Cup Previews & Predictions

GROUP C

Definitely one of the groups which has drawn the most attention to itself during qualifying, simply because the Czech Republic has been scrapping to stay in contention, pretty much from the get go. There has also been the excellent qualifying campaign from Norther Ireland, and the rise and rise of neighbours Slovenia and Slovakia. There have been a lot of twists and turns and excitment in this group, and plenty of things could happen on Saturday, which would leave the group open for a Wednesday night finale.

Remaining Fixtures
October 10th
Czech Republic v Poland
Slovakia v Slovenia

October 14th
San Marino v Slovenia
Poland v Slovakia
Czech Republic v Northern Ireland

 

Current Standings P W D L Pts
Slovakia 8 6 1 1 19
Slovenia 8 4 2 2 14
Northern Ireland 9 4 2 3 14
Czech Republic 8 3 2 3 12
Poland 8 3 2 3 11
San Marino 9 0 0 9 0

 

SLOVAKIA
Have looked a very good, hard working team, with their only blot on their record coming in an away defeat at Slovenia. Granted it may not be the most difficult group, but it was unlikely that anyone expected such an easy rise for Slovakia. The backbone of their campaign has been in their goalscoring, which has shot them to the top of the group, and only need another point from their final two games to be heading to World Cup 2010. A draw against Slovenia would get the job done, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world for the Slovenians either. The big match on Saturday sees the two teams go head to head in a top of the table clash. Slovakia have a tougher last match than their nearest rivals Slovenia, so will be hoping to wrap up the group before Wednesday. Their four point lead should see them do that, and if they just avoid defeat against Slovenia, then they will be set.
Slovakia to win: 15/14 at Expekt
Draw: 9/5 at William Hill
Slovenia to win: 19/5 at Expekt

SLOVENIA

A win for Slovenia against Slovakia on Saturday, would pretty much secure them second place, and perhaps could put them in with a chance of topping the group. This is because their final match is against arguably the worst team in European qualifying, San Marino. Slovakia meanwhile will have a tricky away match at Poland in their final game. A Slovenian win on Saturday would really set the cat amongst the pigeons and having won the previous fixture, they will be confident. The two teams look fairly evenly matched. In many ways this has been an odd group, with unexpected results and everyone taking points off everyone else. It has kept Slovenia firmly in the hunt though, and two wins would mean that will have at least a runner-up play-off spot.

NORTHERN IRELAND

It all went a bit pear shaped in the last round of matches for Nigel Worthington’s team. A 2-0 home loss against Slovakia was something that they could not afford, and had the result been reversed, the Irish would be sitting proudly at the top of Group Three. But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades as they say, and they would need a mathematical miracle to clinch a runner’s-up spot. Why? Because they only have one remaining game, and that to boot, it is against the Czech Republic. The Czechs, who are below them in the table and have been for some time, have always somehow looked more likely to nab second place than the Irish. The last meeting between the two teams ended in a 0-0 draw, and the Irish will need to better that by scoring a hatful of goals and then some, and hope Slovenia do not pick up any points at all from their final two games. Unlikely.

CZECH REPUBLIC
Probably favourites to take the group before qualifying started. Not sure what has happened to them, apart from the two defeats against Poland and Slovakia. Their only noteworthy win came in a 1-0 home victory over Slovenia, and their other two came against San Marino, which does not really count for too much. A few draws against the top teams have somehow kept them in contention and they will need maximum points from their last two games to progress. They cannot bank on Slovenia losing two games, which is what they would need in order to pinch second place from them. That is not going to happen. The fates may have already been sealed for the Czech’s because it could all be out of their hands, depending on results involving Slovakia and Slovenia. They can only get a runner’s-up spot, and have to face, and beat, the Poles and the Irish to have a chance.
Czech Republic to win: 4/7 at Coral
Draw: 3/1 at SportingBet
Poland to win: 11/2 at Expekt

POLAND
Bring competitiveness to a group, and always seem to grind out results. They haven’t been overly effective during qualifying, but they did beat the Czech Republic 2-1 and could yet again be a thorn in the side of the Czech’s. Like the Czech’s their only other two wins were against San Marino, the latest game inflicting a 10-0 whooping on the lowly minnows. Mathematically they can still qualify for a runner’s-up spot if they win their last two games. Again, in the same boat as the Czech’s, they’ll need a miracle slip up from Slovenia though. Anything is possible, but not probable.

SAN MARINO
What is there to say about them? They are diligent and a victory for them is how long they can last in a game without conceding a goal. Their record stands currently as 1 goal for, 44 against. Enough said. Likely to get a lot worse in their final game against Slovenia, who will be wanting a big win.

WHAT IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN
Slovenia and Slovakia will square off in an indecisive draw. That will give the Slovaks the point they will need to win the group, and leave Slovenia in a strong enough position. After beating Poland at home, the Czech Republic’s outside chance will endure until Wednesday, when everything will be in vain when Slovenia hammer San Marino. Northern Ireland will round off their campaign with a loss against the Czech’s, who will be playing with dreams and hopes that San Marino are beating Slovenia.

TO WIN GROUP 3
Slovakia: 1/6 at Bet365
Slovenia: 11/2 at 888Sport
 




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