The first set of matches in the latest round of Euro 2024 qualifying games conclude on Saturday when the three groups yet to see action in this international break take to the pitch over the course of the day.
We’ve seen some leading contenders already this week and on Saturday we see the two teams who competed in the last final of this tournament, as well as a couple of teams who will be out to win the trophy in Germany next summer.
England were beaten on home soil a couple of years ago but it looks like they are cruising through to the finals once again given that they have won all four of their matches in Group C so far. They will be looking to go five from five when they head to Poland to take on Ukraine in the early kick off in this section. Italy have only played two matches so far due to their involvement in the Nations League finals in the previous international break and they make the trip to North Macedonia in the later game looking for revenge after being dumped out of World Cup qualifying by this opponent last year.
Belgium go into Saturday in second place in Group F but that is largely down to playing fewer matches than those around them. They will open up the action over the course of the day when they make the trip to Azerbaijan who could be cannon fodder should the Red Devils fancy the job over the course of the afternoon. Sweden will look to get what has been a disappointing campaign so far back on track when they make the journey to Estonia, who can play with the freedom of knowing they are not going to be good enough to qualify from this section.
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It would appear to be two from three in the race for qualifying from Group I so the three matches on Saturday feel like they will be significant. That is particularly the case because two of those teams meet in Bucharest when second placed Romania host third placed Israel. It is Switzerland who begin the day on top of the group and they have a trip to Kosovo to navigate if they want to stay there. The two minnows in this section meet in the earlier kick off on the day when Andorra host Belarus.
I like the prospect of goals in one of the later games where Romania host Israel in Bucharest. I say that because Israel have this crazy record of having not kept a clean sheet in their last 19 matches in all competitions and that includes conceding to Belarus and Andorra in this group already. Romania have also shipped a goal to Belarus so the one thing we can take from that is that neither defence is up to the level required.
These two met in a friendly last year which ended 2-2 which is encouraging for goals as is the importance of the game. Seven of the last eight Israel matches have had more than 2.5 goals in it while six of the last nine matches that have involved Romania have had at least three goals. That includes their last four home games so history would tell us these two are involved in higher scoring games and I don’t see that changing here.
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