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Our Tips for Saturday's Internationals - 02/09/21

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Latvia vs Norway: Norway (-2)

Norway will look to stay in contention with the three sides above them in Group G when they travel to Riga to face Latvia on Saturday.

Just one point separates the four top sides, Turkey, Netherlands, Montenegro and Norway, in Group G after three matches, and this tripleheader will be fascinating in seeing how the group plays out. Latvia look like no-hopers now though, already cut adrift with Gibraltar at the foot of the group despite a 3-3 draw with Turkey in March, they are a side who ship plenty of goals against the top sides; 7-1, 6-0 and 5-0 defeats over the last two years proves that.

Norway also have a blistering attack spearheaded by goal machine Erling Haaland, who is supported by Martin Odegaard, Alexander Sorloth, and Mohamed Elyounoussi. A 3-0 win over Gibraltar was a tad underwhelming, but they defeated Romania 4-0 and Northern Ireland 5-1 in the previous edition of the Nations League.

Haaland has seven goals in his 12 caps so far and if he plays in Riga, expect Norway to fill their boots. Norway (-2) is 9/4.

World Cup Qualifiers Predictions

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Norway -2 v Latvia @ 9/4

Rep. of Ireland vs Azerbaijan: Ireland to win 2-0

The Aviva Stadium hosts as the Republic of Ireland look to revive their qualifying campaign when they face Azerbaijan in Dublin this Saturday evening.

With only one side qualifying automatically and one going into the playoffs, both sides are as good as eliminated already after losing all of their opening qualifiers. Ireland, embarrassingly so, lost here against Luxembourg in March just days after losing in Belgrade. Azerbaijan lost to both Serbia and Portugal and while that is to be expected, they will have needed to cause a big upset there if they were going to challenge the top two spots.

What is most notable is the severe lack of goals from both teams in recent years. After scoring in a 1-1 draw with Bulgaria in their first international of 2020, Ireland failed to score in all seven matches for the rest of the year, and matches against Luxembourg and Hungary this year also saw them blank in front of goal. Azerbaijan also have a remarkably poor scoring record. In their last 16 internationals, they have scored more than once on just one occasion. That run also saw them draw 0-0 in four consecutive matches at the end of 2020.

Both nations are pointless and have scored just three goals between them in four matches in the group. Under 1.5 goals in the match is our tip here, at 7/4.

World Cup Qualifiers Predictions

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Ireland to beat Azerbaijan 2-0 @ 11/2

Scotland vs Moldova: Scotland to win + Under 2.5 goals

After hosting four games at Euro 2020, Hampden Park is where Scotland will face Moldova this Saturday as the Tartan Army look to build on a strong start to qualifying, following the excitement of their first tournament appearance this millennium, over the summer.

The disappointment of exiting Euro 2020 in the group phase will be put behind Scotland as their attention returns to making it to Qatar 2022, and they have put themselves in a great position to do so. Unbeaten after three games coming into the week, they will expect to comfortably see off minnows Moldova too. Do not expect them to rattle in the goals, though.

Recent games against sides of a similar level have seen them score very few goals, including one against Luxembourg and two against Cyprus, San Marino, and Malta. Moldova did win their last international against Azerbaijan in a friendly, but that ended a 20-game winless run which included 17 defeats.

Very few of them were by a huge margin though, but they do find it hard to find the net, scoring just five goals across their long winless run.

Scotland are near-guaranteed to win here, but we expect them to do it by a small margin. Scotland to win with under 2.5 goals in the game is 15/8,

World Cup Qualifiers Predictions

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Scotland to win and under 2.5 goals v Moldova @ 15/8

Slovakia v Croatia: Croatia to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1

Staying with Group H, two teams who participated in the European Championships across the summer meet in Bratislava on Saturday night, when Slovakia face group leaders Croatia.

Slovakia made a dreadful start to the group, drawing in both games against the two bottom seeds in the group, Cyprus and Malta, which after just two gameweeks seemed to have ended any hopes they had of making it to Qatar next year. However, they bounced back with a stunning win over Russia to put themselves in very good shape, going into the next triple-header of games.

That high did not last long though as they slumped out of Euro 2020 with a whimper in the groups, losing 5-0 to Spain to seal their elimination. Spain would also be the conquerors of Croatia in the following round in that memorable last 16 clash which saw the World Cup runners-up go out 5-3.

Despite a slow start, Croatia will have exited the tournament with their heads held high after a superb performance when they needed it against Scotland, and the very late-spirited fightback against Spain was heroic. Zlatko Dalic’s side still has something to prove in this group though. After losing to Slovenia, they have beaten the two minnows, but now face the three toughest sides in this international break.

Croatia, man for man, have much more class and ability in their ranks, and we expect it to show here, Croatia are 15/8 to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1.

World Cup Qualifiers Predictions

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Croatia to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 @ 15/8

Slovenia vs Malta: Slovenia to win

The sides who vacated the bottom two spots of Group H coming into the week meet on the middle gameweek of this bumper international break, as Slovenia host Malta in the capital Ljubljana.

Slovenia made a dream start to World Cup qualifying by beating the previous runners-up Croatia in their opening match, but they followed it up with two defeats on the road to Russia, and disappointingly, Cyprus. They were also outclassed by North Macedonia in one of their Euro 2020 warm-up matches but Slovenia undeservedly managed to salvage a 97th-minute equaliser.

There is a fragility to Slovenia at the moment, but facing Malta at home should provide only one winner. Do not be too surprised to see Malta give their hosts a few scares, though. They have already gone away to Slovakia and got a 2-2 draw in this group, as well as scoring against Russia. In their last 14 matches, Malta have scored in 11 of them, meaning a BTTS is of great value here.

Our tip is for Slovenia to take the victory here, but with Malta’s much-improved goalscoring form in recent times, we expect both teams to score too.

Slovenia score and win is 11/4 with Sky Bet.

World Cup Qualifiers Predictions

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Slovenia and Under 3.5 Goals in match @ 4/5