24th of March, 5/2 World Cup Boosted Acca
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Belgium v Wales (Score 2+ goals)
· One of the ties of the nights in Leuven this evening as the world’s number 1 ranked team host Wales this evening in a fixture I suspect won’t be short on goals.
· Not many sides consistently deliver as many goals as the Red Devils who have seen over 1.5 goals feature in their last 20 matches going in to the game tonight.
· All the big guns are expected to lineup tonight with the likes of De Bruyne, Lukaku and Mertens all tipped to start.
· Despite being just 27 Lukaku is now his countries all-time leading scorer with 57 goals to his name in just 89 games which is a remarkable record.
· Wales possess a decent goal threat of their own and have actually managed to score in 14 of their last 18 competitive fixtures.
· Gareth Bale is fit and will be a part of a talented Wales front 3 which will also likely include Manchester United’s Dan James Cardiff City top scorer Kiefer Moore who has 16 Championship goals to his name.
· Given the attacking talent on show for both sides an given the consistency in which Belgium games seem to guarantee goals, I can’t see a couple of goals troubling us too much here.
Malta v Russia (Russia to score 2+ goals)
· We finish the evening off in Malta where Russia will fully expect to wipe the floor with their amateurish opponents who historically struggle against teams ranked amongst the world’s top 50.
· Bookmakers see a -3 handicap Russia victory as more likely than Russia failing to win and it is difficult to disagree given the gulf in quality between the sides.
· Russia consistently thrash bottom-pot teams and in 8 of their last 11 meetings against sides ranked outside the top 100 they have managed to score a least 3 goals.
· Russia are actually looking to qualify for their 3rd successive world cup which would be their best run in the post-Soviet Union era.
· The visitors are expected to name a strong starting 11 as they look to get their WC qualification campaign off to a perfect start.
· Russian captain Artem Dzyuba is tipped to start and the skipper has a prolific scoring rate for his national team averaging over a goal every other game.
· He will likely want to fill his boots tonight against Malta who are unlikely be able to deal with his physicality and quality.
· Manager Stanislav Cherchesov will be looking for a big win to boost morale in Russia with the country under some scrutiny at the moment with the doping issues that have arose in recent years.
· Russia consistently win heavily against weaker opposition and Malta consistently lose heavily against superior opponents so I don’t expect a couple of Russian goals will be too much to ask for in this one.
Cyprus v Slovakia (Over 1.5 goals)
· A slightly less glamorous tie up next as we head to Nicosia where European minnows Cyprus host qualification hopefuls Slovakia in Group H this evening.
· I fancy goals again in this one with these two sides traditionally producing the goods in their fixtures in recent fixtures.
· Cyprus are a bit of a mess defensively and I expect Slovakia could quite possibly provide the two goals we need this evening without many problems.
· Cyprus have conceded an average of 2.5 goals in their last 11 matches and I suspect will struggle to cope with what is a very talented Slovakian attack.
· The Slovaks struggle defensively themselves and haven’t actually managed a clean sheet away from home in their last 19 competitive away fixtures. Their last away clean sheet came in November 2016 which gives you an idea of how hard they find it to shut teams out.
· Luckily they are pretty fruitful at the other end of the field and are very consistent scorers. They have scored an average of 1.4 goals across their last 7 matches.
· In the November international break they registered impressive wins over both Northern Ireland and Scotland and showed the impressive crop of players they have coming through internationally at the moment.
Portugal v Azerbaijan (Portugal score both halves)
· Portugal and Fernando Santos have conquered Europe twice in the space of five years – marching to Euros and Nations League success in 2016 and 2019 respectively.
· No doubt there is something special brewing at Portugal at the moment and they have a very strong squad combined with a very capable manager and are unsurprisingly amongst the favourites to win the European Championships once more this summer.
· The likes of Ronaldo, Cancelo, Dias, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix and Diogo Jota are tipped to be involved tonight and it is hard to see past a comprehensive Portuguese win this evening.
· The game will be played in Turin due to Covid travel protocols being in place in Portugal at the moment. This is unlikely to impact on Portugal and actually might prove an advantage with the game being played in Juventus- the home ground of Captain Cristiano Ronaldo.
· The hosts are tipped to name a strong starting 11 as they look to kick off their WC qualifying campaign with a convincing win and will look to score as many as they can tonight to bolster this goal difference.
· Azerbaijan have improved slightly in recent years but are still complete minnows in comparison to their opponents and there is a reason they are ranked 108th in the world.
· Suspect this will be a comprehensive win for the reigning European Champions and I expect they will have few issues in scoring in both halves at the Allianz Arena this evening.