As we begin the new football season, all focus on the international football is squarely on the qualification of the teams towards the World Cup 2018 in Russia. The qualifying campaign is expected to finish by November 2017, and we will have a full host of qualifying games until then to decide who makes it to the finals.
France had an incredible summer during the European Championships that they played at home, that saw them reach the finals and managed to not lose at all in 90 minutes throughout the tournament. They now begin their qualifying campaign for the next tournament in Russia for the FIFA World Cup, optimistic of their chances to progress further. France already kicked off the new season in style with a superb 3-1 victory over Italy on the weekend. Paul Pogba was running the show from midfield much like he did during the Euros and that saw him create chances for goal scorers Kuruzawa, Martial and Giroud. The French team looks extremely strong and have plenty of bench strength with the likes of Payet, Sissoko, Dembele, Gameiro among the few who could unsettle the starting lineup and still put in strong performances.
Belarus on the other hand have been a mid-tier team who have shown some promise with recent friendly victories against Norway and Republic of Ireland and while they found the back of the net in those games, taking on a strong French team will be difficult for them to possibly sustain. Whenever they faced strong opposition like Ukraine, Spain, Russia; they weren’t able to leak out any wins against them. Their biggest issue challenging the bigger squads is their poor offensive unit who scored only 8 goals from 10 games in their qualifying campaign. Kornilenko is their highest goal scorer with just 17 goals from 73 outings for his national side.
The last time these 2 sides met was for the World Cup 2014 qualifying, and France both those game by a 2 goal margin and I am expecting a similar result when these 2 sides take to the field tonight.
Bosnia host Estonia in the first game of their European World Cup Qualifying campaign with the expectation to qualify for the tournament after missing at at the Euros over the summer. Bosnia will be starting this game with a strong attacking front 2 of Dzeko and Ibsevic who have scored a lot of goals among them. Running the strings from midfield will be creative players Pjanic and Lulic who will look to create the chances fro their team. Bosnia will feel confident of starting of their campaign in good fashion after Kirin Cup beating Japan and Denmark over the summer while other teams were playing in the Euros.
Estonia have struggled in recent years and that can be seen from their qualifying campaign fro the European Championships were they netted just 4 goals in 10 games, and that saw them finish above Lithuania and San Marino in the standings. They have 2 experienced scorers at international level in Zenjov and Vassiljev who will have a lot of pressure on them to deliver scoring for this team. Their defenders have been around for ages with captain Klavan and fellow defender Kruglov having over 100 caps between them which have seen them lose a lot of fixtures over few years while conceding 29 goals in their last 20 qualifying campaign matches.
These 2 sides have met on several occasions with Bosnia beating them 2-0 and 7-0 back in 08-09 World Cup qualifying campaign. Since then Estonia haven’t progressed further losing 7-0 to Portugal and 2-0 to Lithuania this year. Since 2015; they have only won 1 game away from home against a poor Finland side, and I expect a similar struggle for them against a stronger Bosnia team tonight.
France to beat Belarus
Belgium to beat Cyprus
Hungary to beat Faroe Islands