Friday, April 28, 2017

Prediction: Scotland vs Slovenia

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 1/2

Bookmaker: bet365

Scotland face Slovenia on Sunday night in a 2018 World Cup Qualifier at Hampden Park. Gordon Strachan will be hoping his side manage to achieve the maximum three points if they are to stand any chance of qualifying from Group F.

Scotland

Scotland have been really struggling in Group F this qualifying campaign and their only victory came in the 5-1 away win at whipping boys Malta in September. That was the Scots first game in the campaign and since then they have had a poor 1-1 draw with Lithuania at home, followed by two 3-0 losses against Slovakia and England. A flat 1-1 draw against a poor Canada side at home hasn’t done much to give fans hope for the rest of the campaign. Gordon Strachan’s men are already four points off the top two positions and a loss on Sunday could more or less be the end of their 2018 World Cup hopes. After the fans desperately pleaded with Strachan to take over the realms in 2012, things have suddenly turned sour after failure to qualify for Euro 2016 and qualification for the next major tournament looking very unlikely.  Supporters have turned on their manager and Hampden Park will be less then half-empty when the players walk on to the pitch come Sunday night.

Team News

Scotland are expected to make many changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Canada on Wednesday night.

Ikechi Anya will remain at right-back, whilst midweek debutant Tom Cairney is likely to drop out.

Grant Hanley, Matt Phillips and James McArthur are all sidelined.

Slovenia

Slovenia only just missed out on Euro 2016 due to a third-place play-off defeat to Ukraine but they are determined not to allow that fate happen again and have made a strong unbeaten start to life in Group F. Even though they only managed a 1-1 draw away at Lithuania in their first match, they have since impressed with a 1-0 victory against Slovakia and a routine win over minnows Malta. Sandwiched in between those fixtures was a deeply impressive 0-0 draw at home to England where they were unlucky not to achieve all three points.  Srecko Katanec’s men have been resilient away from home and are unbeaten in five games although they have only won once in that period. They have only conceded twice in the campaign and will again look to frustrate Scotland before hitting them on the counter. A solid foundation of this strong defence will be Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak who will look to prove why he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

Team News

Josip Ilicic will almost certainly miss the game with an ankle fracture.

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kevin Kampl looks set to play, so does experienced defender Bostjan Cesar.

Key Factors to Consider

  • These two nations have met on the international stage three times, with Scotland winning once and drawing two
  • Scotland’s victory came in a World Cup 2006 qualifier as they won 3-0
  • Scotland have lost just once in seven home qualifiers, losing 3-2 against Germany in 2015
  • However, Gordon Strachan’s men have lost their last two competitive games by a 3-0 scoreline
  • Slovenia have only won one of their last seven international away matches

Verdict

Scotland desperately need the three points here or their 2018 World Cup dreams will be over. However, it will be hard for Gordon Strachan’s men as Slovenia have a strong, solid defence and will look to frustrate their opposition before hitting them on the counter. A tight game looks probable and we don’t expect it to be high scoring at Hampden Park.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 1/2

Bookmaker: bet365

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