SERBIA V SCOTLAND
It’s been 22 years of hurt for Scotland and the Tartan Army, but they’re now just 90 minutes away from reaching a major tournament for the first time since France ’98.
Standing in their way are Serbia – a side who haven’t reached the Euros since 2000, back when they were known as Yugoslavia. However, they have secured World Cup Finals qualification a handful of times since – and they have a squad stacked with talent.
Fulham striker Alexsandar Mitrovic, Ajax star Dusan Tadic and Lazio’s brilliant Sergej Milinkovic-Savic bring the attacking flair – with the latter bagging a late brace against Norway to reach this stage. But this Scotland squad has ability too. Yes, we’re serious.
Andrew Robertson is the obvious one, a mainstay for a dominant Liverpool team over the past couple of years. Scott McTominay is a key cog in Man Utd’s engine, John McGinn is instrumental in a formidable Aston Villa midfield, Liam Cooper has led from the back as Leeds have started the season strongly – and it doesn’t end there.
But have they got the goals? McGinn is the highest scorer in the squad with seven and they may need someone else to step up if they’re going to end their major tournament drought. The aim will be to keep it tight and nick a goal… or settle for a penalty shoot-out which served them so well against Israel.
With Grosvenor Sport’s Bet Builder, you can combine Scotland Double Chance with under 2.5 goals at 15/8, a solid-looking play if you’re all in on Steve Clarke’s men.
NORTHERN IRELAND V SLOVAKIA
Northern Ireland stand on the brink of qualifying for their second consecutive European Championships, a feat that seemed improbable after being drawn in a tough qualifying group and without managerial mastermind Michael O’Neill.
But Ian Baraclough has carried on where O’Neill left off. They couldn’t keep pace with Germany and Netherlands in the group, but they proved strong enough to make the play-offs and – just like the Scots – edged through to this stage via penalties against a strong Bosnia-Herzegovina outfit.
Now it’s back to Belfast for a visit from Slovakia, a nation who sit four places above Northern Ireland in the FIFA rankings. They made hard work of qualifying with Croatia and Wales finishing above them, and they were relegated from their Nations League group with just a point from four winless games.
There’s no doubt that the hosts will miss the backing of their passionate fans at Windsor Park, but the Green and White Army should still be able to raise their game for the big occasion.
We’re on board with the Brits again – you can get Northern Ireland to win and under 3.5 goals at 11/5 with Grosvenor Sport’s Bet Builder. Doubling up with our Scotland suggestion pays 8/1.
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*All stated odds correct at time of writing