Wales can find the net against Belgium
Belgium v Wales
Belgium are among the favourites to win this summer’s rescheduled Euro 2020 and they are ranked as the number one team in the World Cup. But as Simon Mail points out in his match preview, they are missing Eden Hazard and in-form striker Romelu Lukaku may be unable to feature due to a Covid-19 outbreak at his club Inter Milan. Man City’s Kevin de Bruyne should, however, play.
Wales are something of a bogey team for Belgium, beating them in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, and the Welsh are the last team to beat the Belgians in a qualifier. The visitors have problems, and continue to be managed by caretaker boss Robert Page, so Belgium are worthy odds-on favourites. But Wales could get on the scoresheet here – as Switzerland and Denmark both managed to do in the autumn Nations League – and ‘Yes’ in Both Teams to Score at 13/10 is the first part of our acca.
Ireland to draw another blank in Belgrade
Serbia v Republic of Ireland
Ireland will score at some point but, just because they haven’t done so for a record seven successive matches, it doesn’t follow that they will end the drought against Serbia. Dragan Stojković’s men have kept clean sheets in their last three matches and are perfectly capable of shutting out Stephen Kenny’s lacklustre forwards.
They will be organised and resolute and, while they will be determined to take three points ahead of the visit of Portugal on Saturday, they may sit back if they get ahead and shut up shop. I’m backing Serbia to win and under 2.5 goals.
Iceland can exploit German defensive weakness
Germany v Iceland
Last time Germany played they were whupped 6-0 by Spain – a result that may have precipitated manager Joachim Low’s decision to step down after this summer’s Euros. They failed to keep a clean sheet in the rest of their Nations League qualifiers in the autumn too and let in three at home to Switzerland. Playing under a manager who is on his way out does strange things to players and can affect their concentration and motivation.
Iceland will try to exploit this and, while Low’s team should start with three points, their recent defensive record means the visitors are in with a shout of scoring, so I’ll back Germany to win and BTTS.