Predictions and Picks for Euro 2020 Qualifiers on Thursday, November 12, 2020
There are four hugely important Euro 2020 qualifiers taking place on Thursday, November 12, before the weekend’s Nations League action kicks off.
20 teams have already booked their spot at next summer’s tournament, but there are still four places up for grabs.
I assess the bookies’ odds and share my predictions and betting picks for Georgia vs. North Macedonia, Hungary vs. Iceland, Serbia vs. Scotland, and Northern Ireland vs. Slovakia.
Georgia vs. North Macedonia
Whatever happens in this game, one of Georgia or North Macedonia will be heading to a European Championship for the very first time. In fact, neither nation has qualified for a major tournament before, so this is destined to be a hugely competitive encounter.
Funnily enough, Georgia and North Macedonia were drawn in the same Nations League group this year. But there has been nothing to separate the two teams in their recent meetings. Both games ended 1-1, with each side playing home and away.
It’s fair to say that Georgia dominated the first meeting back in September. Vladimir Weiss’ men racked up 13 shots (six on target), while North Macedonia only registered two shots (one on target). However, Stefan Ristovski managed to snatch a draw for his country.
In October’s reverse fixture, North Macedonia enjoyed the lion’s share of possession. The hosts went behind after being reduced to ten men, but Leeds United’s Ezgjan Alioski rescued a point for his side with a stoppage-time penalty.
Both these nations head into Thursday’s qualifier on a strong run. Georgia is unbeaten in their last five outings (two wins, three draws), while North Macedonia is on a six-game unbeaten streak (three wins, three draws).
Georgia has the home advantage this time around, so I’m backing Weiss’ men to replicate September’s dominant performance in Tblisi and win this one.
Georgia to Win2.70
Hungary vs. Iceland
It is no secret that Iceland has gone downhill in recent years. The Nordic islanders shocked everyone by reaching the knockout stages at Euro 2016 before qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. But they have failed to make an impact on the international stage since then.
Indeed, Iceland finished bottom of their Nations League group last year after losing each of their four games. To make matters worse, the team conceded 13 goals and only managed to net one in reply.
Erik Hamren’s men have started this year’s Nations League campaign in a similar fashion. Four straight defeats have seen them concede 11 goals and score just two.
On the other hand, things have been going a lot better for Hungary. Granted, Marco Rossi’s side is in an easier Nations League group. But having already beaten Turkey, Bulgaria, and Serbia this year, the team will be confident of seeing off Iceland.
Better still, Hungary managed to hold Russia to a goalless draw in Moscow last time out, and that is no mean feat!
With Bundesliga duo Willi Orban (RB Leipzig) and Adam Szalai (FSV Mainz) adding a touch of class to Hungary’s team, I’m backing the home side to win this matchup and qualify for the Euros.
Hungary to Win2.45
Serbia vs. Scotland
As you can see, Serbia comes into their qualifier with Scotland as the clear favorite. But while it is difficult to argue with the bookies’ odds for this matchup, I don’t think Ljubisa Tumbakovic’s men will have it all their own way on Thursday.
Following an announcement by the Italian health authorities, Serbia looks set to be without three key players. Serie A stars Aleksandar Kolarov (Inter Milan), Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio), and Nikola Milenkovic (Fiorentina) are currently unable to leave Italy due to travel restrictions, leaving their national team significantly weakened.
Of course, Tumbakovic can still call upon the likes of Luka Jovic (Real Madrid), Dusan Tadic (Ajax), and Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham), so he still has plenty of top-quality options. But the uncertainty behind the scenes could unsettle the Serbs.
Matchweek begins ????????— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 9, 2020
It's going to be a big one. pic.twitter.com/iGWCYT15H5
Remarkably, Scotland heads into Thursday’s clash on an eight-game unbeaten streak (six wins, two draws). After edging past Israel on penalties last month, Steve Clarke’s men beat Slovakia and Czech Republic, claiming a 1-0 victory on both occasions.
Lyndon Dykes has been at the heart of Scotland’s recent upturn. The QPR striker has bagged two goals in his last four international appearances and assisted Newcastle’s Ryan Fraser for the winning goal in the previous outing.
It will be difficult for Scotland to beat Serbia in 90 minutes, but I can see Clarke’s side taking the hosts to extra-time. It feels like the Scots are carrying plenty of momentum at the moment, so I’m going with the draw here. Plus, the Serbia win doesn’t exactly offer much value.
Northern Ireland vs. Slovakia
Despite seeing just 40% possession and facing a barrage of shots against Bosnia & Herzegovina, Northern Ireland eventually managed to scrape through their playoff on penalties last month.
However, the Green and White Army’s preparations for their showdown with Slovakia have not gone to plan. Northern Ireland heads into Thursday’s qualifier on the back two straight defeats, losing to Austria and Norway in October.
Unsurprisingly, Ian Baraclough’s men find themselves bottom of their Nations League group. With one draw and three defeats in Group B1, Northern Ireland looks set to drop down into to League C. I believe the possible relegation speaks volumes about where the team is at right now.
Fortunately for Northern Ireland, Slovakia has also endured a torrid time of late. Stefan Tarkovic’s side edged Republic of Ireland on penalties to reach this stage, but their other recent results have been poor.
Slovakia has only managed to win one of their previous six games within 90 minutes and threw away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Israel last time out.
Both these nations have struggled for consistency this year, but I’m confident that Northern Ireland’s home advantage will get the team over the line on Thursday.
Northern Ireland to Win2.70