The final set of World Cup qualifiers for this October international break get underway on Tuesday, with three Home Nations in action.
There is a sense of anticipation about the Qatar World Cup now with the tournament just over a year away.
Germany became the first team to officially qualify with a 4-0 win at North Macedonia on Monday and others will be looking to follow in their footsteps.
The Home Nations teams all have slightly different challenges and it will be fascinating to see how they fare.
Routine Win On The Cards For Southgate
There is an expectancy more than hope these days that England will play some fine football and win these qualifiers by a healthy margin.
While Saturday’s game against Andorra was always ever going to be one-sided, England did play some nice football and came away with a 5-0 win.
They have won six of their seven qualifiers in this campaign with their only dropped points coming away at Poland last month.
However, at home they are particularly strong, scoring 32 goals in their last seven home qualifiers.
Hungary will put up slightly more fight than Andorra but will carry the memories of being utterly outclassed by England just last month.
With Gareth Southgate indicating on Monday that he would revert to a first-choice XI, another big win is on the cards and England can be backed at 29/4 to win 4-0.
Jubilant Scotland To Carry On Momentum
Scotland’s last minute winner against Israel on Saturday could prove to be the defining moment in their quest to secure a play-off spot in qualifying.
With unbeaten Denmark likely to seal top spot, it is a battle for second elsewhere and Scotland are now in the driving seat.
The Israel win was their third consecutive triumph as they seek World Cup qualification for the first time since 1998.
While boss Steve Clarke has warned that the Faroe Islands are an improving footballing nation, he ultimately shouldn’t have too much to worry about.
They have lost and failed to score in three of their last four qualifiers while Scotland are unbeaten in their ten meetings, including March’s 4-0 thumping at Hampden.
Scotland can be backed to win to nil at 5/7.
Northern Ireland Set For Narrow Success
Northern Ireland’s defeat to Switzerland on Saturday was a huge blow to their chances of qualifying for next winter’s World Cup.
They now sit third in the group, six points adrift of Switzerland with three games remaining, so this is a must-win.
Goals have been hard to come by for the Ulstermen with just four in five matches – all coming in the same 4-1 win at Lithuania.
Bulgaria have a similar record so a goal glut is unlikely in this contest.
Tuesday’s hosts have lost five of their last seven home qualifiers and Northern Ireland – with their brand of defensively resilient football – could seek to take advantage.
Northern Ireland to win and under 2.5 goals can be backed at 17/4.
* All odds correct at time of writing.