Oranje to Avoid Norway Nightmare

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The Netherlands can secure their return to football's grandest stage with a win over Norway on home soil on Tuesday evening.

Memphis Depay

Tuesday marks the final night of the European group stage qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, with matters still to discuss in Groups D, E and G.

The highlight has to be the showdown in Rotterdam, but there could also be headlines in Helsinki and a classic in Cardiff.

Netherlands to Edge Haaland-less Norway

Spurning a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 in Montenegro on Saturday somewhat epitomised the inconsistency of the current Netherlands squad.

However, having missed out on a trip to Russia in 2018, qualification for Qatar 2022 remains in their hands as they welcome Norway to De Kuip.

The Dutch sit top of Group G, with both Turkey, who are away in Montenegro, and the Norwegians tied on 18 points.

Three does not go into two but the visitors to Rotterdam will again be without Erling Haaland, and his absence was clearly felt in the weekend’s 0-0 home draw against Latvia.

The pair drew 1-1 in Oslo in September and another tie is 33/10 but looking at the game on paper, the Dutch should have too much.

That said, this side seem to reflect boss Louis van Gaal’s habit of almost wilfully making life hard for themselves and a home win and both to score is 9/4, while Memphis Depay is available at 5/6 in the anytime market to net for the fourth straight home qualifier.

Meanwhile, it could prove to be a similarly entertaining story in Podgorica. Turkey warmed up for this game by thrashing Gibraltar 6-0 while their hosts held Holland.

The pair drew 2-2 in their previous Group G meeting and another case of over 3.5 goals is 41/20.

Yellow and Blue Know What They Need to Do

Group D may well be the most topsy-turvy on Tuesday. Although France are through as top dogs, both Finland and Ukraine can still take the playoff spot.

The Finns hold the advantage, sitting second, two points ahead of Ukraine but the optimism generated by their position is tempered by the fact they’re set to host Les Bleus.

With the home win, even with France’s job done, priced at 17/4, Markku Kanerva’s men face a huge task and it may be worth siding with Ukraine to steal second, especially as they have a chance to also finish with a superior goal difference.

The Yellow and Blue head to Bosnia and Herzegovina and will be aware that only a win will do if they are to finish in the playoff place.

They are still to lose in Group D and an away win on the night is 20/31. Again, that might seem like a short price, but the Bosnians are not the team they were, winning just once during the current campaign.

As is so often the case, Andriy Yarmolenko will likely be the man to lead Ukraine’s charge. The winger may often have to settle for a bench role at West Ham but he is a star for the national team.

The 32-year-old has lifted his team when they’ve needed it, scoring in the last two qualifiers and is 4/1 to break the deadlock in Zenica.

No Bale, No Problem for Wales

A draw against Belgium will seal second spot in Group E for Gareth Bale-less Wales, although they and third place Czech Republic find themselves in the odd position of knowing they will both be in the playoffs, regardless of Tuesday’s outcomes.

Rob Page’s side took the lead in the reverse game back in March but De Rode Duivels responded to win 3-1 in Heverlee.

Wales continue to improve, though, and with Roberto Martinez likely to rotate, they could well get the draw they need to seal second at 23/10.

Meanwhile, in Prague, look for the Czechs to go big at home to Estonia. Jaroslav Silhavy’s side warmed up for this game by beating Kuwait 7-0 and won the pair’s reverse fixture 6-2.

Over 3.5 goals in this one is 23/20, so it might be worth doubling up with a Czech win and over 3.5 goals priced at the slightly more generous 6/5.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

The first choice in any quiz team, Jack is your man for stats, facts and information across a wide range of different sports. As well as a vast knowledge of football, he specialises in cycling, rugby and tennis amongst a number of other sports.

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