So close and yet so far. Again. This time it was Liverpool and Stoke who let us down. Never mind the diving and the stamping, we were the real victims of that game. But now it’s international time and Estonia v Hungary, Faroe Islands v Sweden and Argentina v Uruguay make up this week’s selection.
They may not be the most obvious choices, but don’t worry, I shall explain my reasoning below – it’s solid, I tells ya. I’ve even thrown in a South American game so we can all have a midnight feast and stay up until the wee hours of Saturday morning to await the outcome (see, always thinking of you when I write these articles).
Over 2.5 goals in Estonia v Hungary @ 6/5
Okay, I’ll admit, this isn’t the most glamorous of Friday’s World Cup qualifiers, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be goals aplenty in this clash at the Lilleküla Stadium.
The big selling point behind this choice was the goals both teams plundered, and conceded, during Euro 2012 qualifying.
Across their ten games, the Estonians scored 15 and shipped 14, meaning their matches averaged almost three goals apiece.
The Hungarians, on the other hand, went goal crazy, also conceding 14 but bagging an impressive 22 themselves. It wasn’t enough to help them qualify, but that record did raise this punter’s eyebrows and Sándor Egervári’s team have already scored six and conceded four in their two matches of this campaign.
Over 2.5 goals in Faroe Islands v Sweden @ 3/4
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his band of merry Swedes march into the Tórsvøllur Stadium on Friday hoping to add to their opening 2-0 win over Kazakhstan in Group C.
The Faroes have only played once as well, in a 3-0 loss away to Germany, a game that showed that Lars Olsen’s side are not the whipping boys they once were.
The minnows did come bottom of their Euro 2012 qualifying group, conceding 26 goals in the process, but they managed to muster a respectable total of four points.
However, it is Sweden we are relying on in this particular clash, having scored and conceded a combined total of 42 goals in their ten qualifying matches for Euro 2012 – an average of over four goals per game. And of course, I make no apologies for adding the 3-2 defeat at the hands of England in the tournament itself to that list.
Over 2.5 goals in Argentina v Uruguay @ 67/100
And here we have it. A huge clash in the South American qualifying group between two of the favourites to top the table, a position currently occupied by Argentina.
Uruguay sit in fourth, but only two points off the top, and they will be aiming to replicate their famous win over La Albiceleste in last year’s Copa America, even if that triumph was on penalties.
The obvious reason for this selection is the array of attacking talent on show, aligned with the relative weaknesses in both defences.
Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez on one side, Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan on the other. *drools just a little bit*
A whopping 26 goals have been scored in Uruguay’s seven qualifying games, with a more modest 21 in Argentina’s, but both totals indicate that there will be goals in the 1am kick-off (BST) on Saturday morning.
Let’s just hope we’ll be cheering those goals loudly by that time, getting ourselves well and truly struck off the neighbours’ Christmas card lists in the process.
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