The 2020 European Championship qualifiers are back. How long can Northern Ireland sit on top of Group C? Will Croatia get back to winning ways and how will Steve Clarke fare in his first match as Scotland manager? Here are Things to look out for in European qualifying. Bet on football here.
Northern Ireland to tighten their grip on top of Group C?
An 87th-minute goal from substitute Josh Magennis gave Northern Ireland a crucial win in their Euro 2020 qualifier victory over Belarus in March. The win, which was their second in a row, coupled with Germany beating the Netherlands 3-2 meant they sit top of the group heading into Match Day 3. On Saturday, they visit Estonia in a bid to tighten their grip on top of Group C. Their three-point lead in a group consisting of giants Germany and the Netherlands is never safe. Therefore, they’ll have to play every match very well to retain that top spot, starting Saturday.
Low scoring affair between Denmark and the Republic of Ireland
Mick McCarthy’s return as Republic of Ireland’s manager wasn’t a dream one. Two laboured wins over lowly-ranked teams was enough to see them take top spot in Group D. However, the lack of enough goals in the last few matches is concerning. They’ve scored two goals in six matches. Their upcoming fixture against Denmark has also been low scoring in recent years. Three of their last five encounters have been goalless draws. Therefore, it’s hard to see anything different this time. Denmark have won just two of their last six matches.
Croatia’s slow start to continue?
Since their extraordinary run to the 2018 World Cup final, Croatia have won just three matches in eight. That poor run included an embarrassing 6-0 defeat to Spain in the UEFA Nations League. In the Euro 2020 qualifiers, they’re fourth in Group E and face one of the strongest teams in the Group, Wales. The Croats need to get back to form soon and with Hungary showing they can be beaten, Wales will come out with guns blazing. Although it is still early in the qualifiers, poor form can still be carried on to the latter stages, which should concern manager Zlatko Dalić.
Steve Clarke takes the reins at Scotland
Newly appointed Scotland manager Steve Clarke will take charge of his first match when they face Cyprus on Saturday. The 55-year-old replaced Alex McLeish on a three-year deal after guiding Kilmarnock to third in the Scottish Premiership. Scotland sit fifth in their Euro 2020 qualifying group after two games. He starts at home against Cyprus before visiting Group I leaders Belgium three days later. Will Clarke be the catalyst Scotland have been looking for to end their 22-year wait for an appearance in a major tournament?
Greece and Italy battle for top spot in Group J
Italy currently occupy the top position in Group J with six points from two games. They’ll be facing Greece, who are second with four points, to fight for the top spot. This fixture has been competitive in the past although the Italians have been the much stronger side. This time though, there’s something at stake, a place in the top of the group and the 2004 Euro winners will want to pull an upset on the European giants.