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.
Spain come into this game after conceding a late goal to Italy and drawing the game by a score of 1-1 with a hatful of missed chances continuing to haunt them. The typical style of the Spanish play of passing around before trying to find the cross, has seen them struggle to finish the ball in front of the net despite the number of chances that they create. Through that what we see as a common trend emerging is Spain creating a high volume of corner kicks.
In the last few games of Spain alone, their corner kick count read as follows: 13, 6, 5, 9, 7, 7, 14 which dates back to the UEFA Euro 2016. Their strong wide players in Silva and Vitolo along with their full backs Carvajal and Jordi Alba have seen them accumulate a lot of these corners.
A lot of these corner tips also depends on their opponents and while Albania will feel confident after grabbing 6 points and sitting on top of their opponents in the table, they will know that their first objective is to come out of this game with at least a point, and that means clearing the ball by any means necessary.
I expect corners to continue flowing for Spain, and thats why I am backing them to get over 6.5 corners in this encounter.
Iceland got out of jail in their last World Cup qualifying game after coming back from a 2-1 deficit to win by a score of 3-2 with 2 goals coming in injury time. The team will be extremely buoyed by that extremely solid performance while they also showcased their talent in front of goal with 3 goals and had many more chances. Iceland have already got 4 points from their 2 games so far, and will be aiming to take that lead to 7 in tonight’s encounter. The team has really developed over the years with strong performances beating Austria and England while drawing against Portugal and Hungary and putting in a strong performance against France. With large part of the squad in tact; they look good to score goals as they have done in 16 straight games, as their record started after they lost 1-0 away to Turkey.
Turkey have been struggling defensively, which has been their reason for struggling in their 2 qualifying games with a 1-1 and 2-2 games against Croatia and Ukraine respectively. Turkey have struggled the last time they traveled to Iceland where they lost 3-0; but since then Turkey have improved on the offensive end, netting in in both their games. Turkey despite being without Arda Turan and Burak Yilmaz, have still managed to find the goals through Calhanogolu and Tufan. Turkey will look at Icelands poor defensive record in recent games where they have now leaked goals in 12 out of their last 13 games, showcasing their weakness in the back.
I think Iceland will use the home advantage to try and pull out a victory, but it won’t be any surprise to see both teams finding the back of the net.