England After Key Albania Victory

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England and Scotland are both in action on Friday as the World Cup 2022 qualifiers enter the final period!

Gareth Southgate

England will expect to all-but-guarantee themselves a World Cup 2022 finals place with victory over Albania at Wembley on Friday night.

The Three Lions may need four points from their final two Group I games to secure top spot but a win on Friday may be enough if Poland fail to pick up a victory against Andorra. That would be unlikely, though, so Gareth Southgate’s men may need to wait until their final clash with minnows San Marino before their place in Qatar is confirmed.

Hungary Disappointment

Either way, following a disappointing 1-1 draw against Hungary last time out, getting quickly back on track with a win is needed. It’s no surprise to see a home victory on offer at 2/17, with Albania a huge 18/1 to win, while the draw is 31/4.

England have racked up big wins since September over the likes of Andorra (4-0 at home, 5-0 away) and they won well in Hungary 4-0, so it’s tempting to suggest a similar outcome against Albania, who they beat 2-0 in Tirana in March.

Amongst the plentiful options in the correct score market, a 3-0 home win appeals at 29/10.

Scotland’s Task is Clear

Meanwhile, Scotland’s target is clear ahead of their trip to Moldova. Win and they will secure second spot in Group F behind already-qualified Denmark and Steve Clarke’s side should get the job done when they take on the weakest team in the section, who are without a win from eight games.

Clarke will want to render Monday’s home clash with the Danes fairly meaningless by making it five wins on the spin but for those expecting a big victory and a comfortable night, it’s worth remembering they only beat Moldova 1-0 at home earlier in the group and last time out they made very hard work of minnows Faroe Islands with a late winner in another narrow 1-0 success.

It could be a grind again for the Scots and the Tie/Scotland in the HT/FT market at 49/20 may well be the way to go.

If Scotland slip up, Israel will hope to take advantage. They sit third in the group, four points behind, and go to Austria on Friday knowing a win is a must if they are to stand any chance of securing second place.

An eye-catching 5-2 win at home against Austria in September means they should approach the trip to Klagenfurt with confidence and they are a a tempting 15/4 to do the double and secure an away victory.

Top-two Showdown in Rome

The top two square off in Group C when European champions Italy host Switzerland in Rome. The Azzurri were the last team to beat the Swiss in 90 minutes, when they triumphed 3-0 in the group stages in the Euros.

Switzerland managed to reach the quarter-finals of the Euros in the summer, when they were eventually edged out by Spain on penalties, and that proves they can be a match for anyone.

They have virtually identical records in qualifying so far with both registering four wins and two draws from their six games, and the two countries played out a goalless draw in Basel in September to suggest there’s little between the sides.

However, when it comes to the crunch, Italy should be able to rely on their big-game experience to eke out a narrow victory and close in on securing top spot ahead of their final qualifier in Northern Ireland on Monday.

Italy to win by a one-goal margin is available at 37/20.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.

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