The road to Brazil is now closed, but all routes are currently being diverted to France with Euro 2016 qualifying kicking off for some of the usual suspects tonight, plus a few newcomers thankful of the tournament’s brand new expansion.
After a mammoth last 18 months of international football there’s plenty of form to go on, so we’ve cooked up a 17/1 treble centred around the battles in Group A.
Netherlands to beat Czech Republic @ 19/20
The Dutch are clearly susceptible to friendly losses in countries that share their mid-to-high rank, having now gone down 2-0 away to Italy and France over the last six months, but Robin van Persie and co have won seven and drawn three of their ten other matches during that period.
Considering four of those wins came on a run to the World Cup semi-final stage, where they only went out on penalties, new Oranje head Guus Hiddink’s side should have far too many guns for Pavel Vrba’s.
The Euro 1996 runners-up’s last competitive home fixture ended in defeat to Armenia, while Denmark, Finland and most recently USA have all left the Czech Republic with wins since September 2012.
Iceland to beat Turkey @ 5/2
The hosts seem wildly overpriced considering they’ve won two and drawn the other of their last three competitive home matches stretching back to June of last year.
On the face of it the visitors look in terrific form, with ten wins out of 12 fixtures since last August, but the best quality opposition Fatih Terim’s team have taken down in that run was Sweden, and Turkey finished fourth in their World Cup 2014 qualifying Group D despite the late rally.
Iceland will have geared towards this fixture and rate good value to leave their fans happy at the final whistle.
Kazakhstan to beat Latvia @ 33/20
If home form is going to be the difference at this severely lowered-level of European Championship qualifying, then Latvia could be heading back to the drawing board after this clash.
Kazakhstan have won three of their last four home games, including twice in the last five weeks by a combined scoreline of 9-2 against Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, plus the Faroe Islands in World Cup 2014 qualifying and Georgia in a friendly.
FIFA’s 131st-ranked nation kept Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden at bay for all but the first minute of their only other home match since last June.
With Latvia unable to boast of a win on the road since September 2011, with three draws and 11 losses picked up away from home during that run, backing the hosts is again advised.