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Some good calls yesterday. Senegal scored their 2 goals yet again. I did want South Africa to score first in order to lay SA.The 0-0 lasted a while in the Sweden match. 1-0 2nd half Sweden and now we have an angle for the second leg. 1-3 Brazil correct score -nailed it! But when they scored 3 goals very early I was fearing the floodgates opening.
I am sorry if I cannot live chat 19:45 kick offs. It translates to 02:45 am kick-off. My usual live chats are at a more civilized time on the weekend.. A pity as Scotland U21 was the best trade of the evening. 1.27 shots 0-1 down to Latvia U21 who had a man sent off second off. The ref obviously has a betfair account as he awarded a highly dubious penalty to the Scots who dispatched in the 90-something'th minute. A late lay the draw proved very fruitful.

17:30 - Ivory Coast v Morocco - 2.08 Ivory Coast

  • This is winner-takes-all in Group C as 2nd and 1st meet in the last match.
  • 0-1 Ivory Coast, 0-1 Ivory Coast, 0-0 and 1-0 Morocco in the last 4 head to heads.

Ivory Coast

  • Only 1 loss in world cup qualifiers since 2008 came v Gabon during this campaign.
  • 3 clean sheets in 4 matches included a 0-0 v Morocco.
  • That loss v Gabon came in the Ivorians last home match, only 1 of 3 defeats since April 2000.
  • Ivorians have scored in every home world cup qualifier since April 2000.

Morocco

  • 5 clean sheets. 3 0-0's though is a concern.
  • Have not won a World Cup qualifier in their last 10 matches away and a current run of 2 0-0's.

Conclusions

  • The permutations? Morocco with a point more than Ivory Coast need a draw in order to qualify as 1st. The Ivory Coast need a win.
  • 0-0 must be in-play surely, such is this Moroccan defensive strength and it is proven. All clean sheets. 2 consecutive away 0-0's.
  • Any Ivorian (needed) win is likely to be 1-0. It does look the most logical scoreline.

19:45 - Denmark v Rep Of Ireland - 1.79 Denmark

  • It is now down to 2 legs between these 2 teams.

Denmark

  • Built on defence, as are Ireland as you will read.
  • 1-1-0-1-0-1-0-1 conceded in qualifiers. In all honesty their group looked a tad weak with the likes of Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Romania, Armenia and Poland. Romania and Poland would have been the 2 dangers.
  • Still Denmark only lost to Montenegro.
  • Denmark scored 4 goals in home wins v Kazakhstan and Poland.They did draw 1-1 v Romania and that latter scoreline should be more in keeping with today's match.

Ireland

  • Only 1 loss for Ireland was v Serbia, a 0-1. Ireland are built on defence too.
  • 1-0-0-1-1-1-0-0 goals conceded for Ireland.
  • Ireland remained unbeaten away in their campaign. Wins recently were 0-1.

Conclusions

  • Denmark showed against Poland that they can come to life all of a sudden but this does look defence v defence today.
  • I will back 0-0 pre match and hope these 2 put their best defensive feet forward. I tend to trade out at halftime.
  • The market has Denmark as odds on favourites here, probably taken by the Poland result at home. But this is a tight Ireland side not used to losing away.

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES

13:00 - Russia v Argentina - 1.8 Argentina

  • Russia have won just 5 of their last 20 Internationals.
  • Argentina have won 7 of their last 8 International Friendlies.
  • Messi and Aguero we are assured will play a part this evening. Usually in friendlies Messi gets the first half, to assuage the masses and then is rested second half.
  • 5 clean sheets in 6 friendlies for Argentina. 4 consecutive away wins in friendlies albeit playing the likes of Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • The Russians seem to loosen the shackles in friendlies. 3-3, 0-3 win, 1-1, 4-2, 1-1 in recent unbeaten friendlies.
  • They have scored and conceded in their last 4 home friendlies.
  • Russia have not had any World Cup qualifiers for us to look at.
  • It does look as if we will get an entertaining 'World Cup awareness' friendly today.
  • The boy Messi is scoring for fun. Watch out for him. I think he might have a future in the game. He should get on the scoresheet.
  • Do beware of this open nature to the Russians in friendlies. It might make for surprises.
  • In-play stats will determine the well-being and attitude of the teams today but on friendly form both teams could score today with Russia not winning.

16:30 - Qatar v Czech Republic - 1.95 Czech

  • This is one of those matches where quantifying the form is difficult. Qatar play largely other-than-European opponents.
  • Qatar have scored and conceded in 7 of their last 8 friendlies and beat Russia 2-1 in 2016 albeit we don't know the strength of the russian side.
  • Qatar have scored and conceded in their last 7 friendlies at home.
  • In friendlies, the Czechs have only really lost to dog-munchers South Korea and Belgium, both 2-1 scoreline.
  • A 2-1 win against an inform Iceland grabs my attention as does a 1-1 v a Danish side who have shown in qualifiers to be very adepth.
  • Both sides failed to qualify for the World Cup so we may see wholsesale changes to teams in a bid to inject some improvement.
  • A match making little appeal to me given the possible team changes for both sides.

17:30 - FYR Macedonia v Norway - 2.76 Norway

  • As I hope you know my now, a favourite at 2.76 odds suggests a match best left alone.
  • Another friendly in which both sides failed to qualify for the World Cup.
  • Macedonia in qualifiers always faced an uphill task being in the same Group as Italy and Spain.
  • That said, they are an obviously defensively strong outfit, conceding 0-0-0-2 (Spain) - 0-1-1-0 in qualifiers.
  • 3 clean sheets in 4 friendlies but a 3-1 battering by Iran for FYR.
  • Norway's only defeats in qualifiers were v Germany and Northern Ireland, that latter they beat 1-0 in home revenge.
  • 3 wins to nil in 4 for Norway saw a solid end to qualifiers.
  • A feeling the Norwegians are an experimental friendly side. Their wins at home v Finland and Iceland were 'derbies; of sorts, and those were the only 2 wins in 15 friendlies.
  • 0-2-0-0-0-0-2 scored in recent away friendlies by Norway.
  • I can make a cogent argument for each team, as tends to be the case when we see a 2.76 odds favourite. FYR, if bringing in their defensive strengths, will be tough to score against.
  • Norway, if continuing the momentum of their last 4 Qualifiers, will be hard to beat BUT for me there is a huge question mark about Norway in friendlies, enough to consider laying Norway if they score first or lead late in this match.

20:30 - Spain v Costa Rica - 1.18 Spain

  • The short priced favourites yesterday all obliged so the market is getting it right.
  • 4 consecutive clean sheets for Spain.
  • Spain do let their guard down in friendlies, as shown by a 0-1 loss v Georgia, and 2 2-2 draws v England and Colombia.
  • The problem here today is possible Spanish team changes. They have already qualified for the World Cup. They have strength-in-depth.
  • Peripheral players may get a look in. A Spanish first team of course would more than justify this 1.18 quote. So check the team news.
  • Spain have not won either of their last 2 home friendlies, 0-1 v Georgia and 2-2 v Colombia.
  • Costa Rica 2 1-1 draws and a 2-1 loss in their last 3 qualifiers.
  • 5 wins and 2 losses in friendlies for Costa Rica. 3 wins were 1-0 and 2 losses were 1-0.
  • The last 2 friendlies have been goal fests. 2-1 win v Venezuela. 3-4 win v Russia.
  • In summary, the market has been spot on with these short priced favourites in friendlies, so consider that. Similar odds to France last night who scored the 3 goals we expect of 1.18 shots.
  • There may be wholesale Spanish team changes which may muddy the waters. In-play stats will play a key part. Note Spain have not won either of their last 2 home friendlies so do not place great importance in them.