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World Cup 2018 - Home Nation Qualification Hopes - Play Offs or Bust?

Road to Russia 2018 – Home Nation Hopes

Road To Russia 2018 in Ruins for Scotland?

Scotland play Slovakia in the penultimate round of fixtures in Group F.  1 point separates 3 teams.

Slovakia currently hold 2nd spot and should they win then will be in prime position to have a play off to go to Russia 2018.  They defeated the Scots 3-0 when they met earlier in the campaign.

Since then Scotland have rallied impressively.  They have won 3 and drawn 1 of the next 4 fixtures and were unfortunate not to beat England conceding an injury time equaliser.

They go into this crucial fixture with an injury crisis though.  Influential midfielders Stuart Armstrong and captain Scott Brown have both been ruled out as has Matt Ritchie.  These 3 players would have certainly been part of manager Gordon Strachan’s first eleven and may effect how he approaches this match.

Scotland must win this match to have any hope of qualifying for Russia 2018 and Leigh Griffiths will be central to this.  He is in great form internationally with 3 goals and 3 assists in his last 3 international matches.

Kieran Tierney and Andrew Robertson will both be bombing up and in their wing back roles but must ensure their defensive roles are covered first and foremost.  It looks likely that Darren Fletcher will be recalled to replace Scott Brown.  This will be his first game since the corresponding fixture last year.  Lets hope the result is not the same!

England to cement Road to Russia 2018

England can guarantee qualification for Russia 2018 by defeating Slovenia at Wembley.

This would also help Scotland should they defeat Slovakia.  I can see no issues for England this evening.  As long as they get an early goal and the crowd get behind they should see of Slovenia with comparative ease.

Harry Kane is in supreme form and the pace of Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling will stretch Slovenia.

Wales have an uphill task to qualify for Russia 2018.  This has now got even harder with news that superstar and influential midfielder Gareth Bale will miss the final 2 fixtures.  Those fixtures are away to Georgia and at home next Monday in a blockbuster clash to the Republic of Ireland.

Hopefully Wales can get a result in Tblisi which then sets up the mouthwatering clash in Cardiff.  They should still have enough class in the squad to see off Georgia.  The midfield consists of Aaron Ramsey,  Andy King, Joe Ledley and Joe Allen so there is still a lot of class and experience there.  Added to that there is the exciting talent of Ben Woodburn.

Northern Ireland have already secured a play off spot.  They can still theoretically win the group but to this Germany would need to lose both of their remaining matches.  Whilst their is a lsight possibility of this at Windsor Park I would be very surprised if Azerbaijan defeated the world champions.  I can see Northern Ireland holding Germany to a draw this evening.  Bayern Munich are struggling domestically at the moment and this usually impacts on the national team.

Tip of The Day

MY RUSSIA 2018 TIP OF THE DAY IS ENGLAND -1 GOAL.  THIS IS GENERALLY AVAILABLE AT 10/11

FOR THOSE WANTING FURTHER VALUE PUT IN A DOUBLE WITH SCOTLAND TO WIN MAKING IT 15/4 ACCUMULATIVE ODDS

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