England look full of goals, while Wales look full of graft, as Neil Harvey explains in this week's Overs or Unders...
"Wales have exactly matched the recent results of Belgium, by beating Iceland in a friendly and by drawing with Bosnia. The Welsh defense held firm for a clean sheet against Edin Dzeko and co. and are capable of keeping things similarly tight"
England v Slovenia - 17:00
It's European Qualifier time and for once England will be thanking their lucky stars to be in a group that even they can't make hard work of. Next up for the Three Lions in Group E, it's Slovenia, a team that evokes memories of the 2010 World Cup, where a Fabiola Capello-led England prevailed 1-0 against a tough opponent.
Four years is a long time though and much has changed for both sides, with Slovenia in particular losing their way on the international stage. A glance at their recent results illustrates their travails, most notably a 1-0 loss to Estonia. In fact, it's hard to take too seriously a team who's three qualifying goals to date we're all scored a by a 35 year old - Milivoje Novakovic.
By contrast, England have been going great guns after losing to Uruguay at the World Cup, having not conceded in their five games since. And the goals have started to come for them as well, including an impressive 2-0 away win in Switzerland. Amazingly, Wayne Rooney, despite so many poor performances in an England shirt, is just a goal away from drawing level with Jimmy Greaves for international goals, and he has a great chance of doing it here, if selected for his 100th cap.
In all England look a superior beast to a now fading Slovenia and can win this one easily, putting on a show in the process.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.245/4
Spain v Belarus - 19:45
Much has been made of Spain's fall from grace at the World Cup where they were, let's be honest, humbled. And it seems like lots of the sporting media were champing at the bit to consign the defending European and World champions straight to the knackers yard. That is of course ridiculous, while at the same time admitting that Spain do have some issues to deal with.
A 2-1 loss away to Slovakia in this group was a reminder of that. But let's not forget that many of the components that made this team the most effective we might see in our lifetimes, still remain. And they include the manager, Vicente Del Bosque, who it's worth remembering - is the only football manager in history to win the Champions League, European Championship and World Cup. So I guess he can't be that bad.
In their other recent games, the Spanish have looked as ruthless as ever, putting Macedonia to the sword 5-1 and disposing of Luxembourg 4-0. So they should have no problems in beating a Belarus side that conceded three at home to Slovakia and could only draw with Luxembourg. Expect plenty of 'oles' in what should be a handsome win for the home side.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.434/9
Belgium v Wales - 17:00
Belgium gained a lot of admirers in the Brazil World Cup. Not especially for their style of football, which was nothing special. But more having a number of players who'd become household names in the English Premier League. But despite having this abundance of supposed stars, such as Marouane Fellaini and Eden Hazard , the Belgians wilted, much as their chocolates would have done, in the heat of Brazil.
To be fair, Belgium did lose out to the eventual finalists, Argentina. But for me there was a sense of being underwhelmed all the way. A feeling that Belgium came to less than the sum of their big named parts. The opposite though could definitely be said about Wales, whose squad reads like a who's who of the lower divisions, and who now find themselves standing top of qualifying Group B.
It's worth noting that Wales have exactly matched the recent results of Belgium, by beating Iceland in a friendly and by drawing with Bosnia. The Welsh defense held firm for a clean sheet against Edin Dzeko and co. and are capable of keeping things similarly tight, especially against a Belgium side that looks to lack some spark.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 2.1411/10
Italy v Croatia - 17:45
And then finally, on Sunday evening, Italy and Croatia will battle it out for top spot in Group H. The top two in the standings for one, these sides hold a three points advantage over third placed Norway and will be keen to keep it that way, meaning a point wouldn't be a disaster for either.
It's not just instinct though that makes me think there'll be a lack of goals here, it's also facts. Croatia have yet to concede in three qualifying games. We saw at the World Cup just how difficult they can be to break down. And they are sure to be adopting a cautious approach on the road in Italy.
The Italians meanwhile have been doing enough to win without finding the net too often. Their defense though remains robust, having conceded just once in their three qualifiers so far. My feeling is that it could take a while before we see the opening goal in this game and so the call for me has to be Unders.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.564/7
2014/15 Season P/L