Over the weekend of September 4-5, fans will be treated to the latest round of qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, which will take place in Qatar.
In some groups, the top dogs and the outsiders have already been firmly established, but all eyes will be on matches featuring teams from this year’s Euros. Current world champions France will be landing in Kyiv to try and show the world that their home game draw against the Ukrainian national team was just a frustrating slip, and not representative of the state of affairs at chez les Bleus. Since then, Ukraine – now under the command of Oleksandr Petrakov instead of Andriy Shevchenko – have twice tried and failed to best Kazakhstan. This less-than-impressive record combined with some shocking defensive errors and feeble performances in the midfield makes France the outright favorites going into this clash.
It will be equally tantalizing to watch the newly-crowned kings of Europe Italy go head-to-head with Switzerland. The Swiss have parted ways with their veteran head coach Vladimir Petrović and now, under the tutelage of Murat Yakin, will try to put the pressure on the Azzurri. We’re expecting Mancini and co. to pull off a squeaky clean victory here and continue their incredible unbeaten run. Meanwhile, Belgium’s golden generation continues its crusade for that elusive trophy as Roberto Martinez’ wonder-team prepares to take on one of the great discoveries of the Euros – the Czech Republic.
At last, we get to watch Euro 2020’s top scorer, Patrik Shick face off against the unstoppable force that is Romelu Lukaku. Their previous clash ended with a 1:1 draw; however, we think we could see 3 or more goals when the storm breaks this Sunday. Last but not least, Russian fans who have put their faith in Valeri Karpin for success in this qualifying round should be safe expecting a win against Cyprus on Saturday.
Russia hasn’t dropped points against their opponents since 1997; the 5:0 whipping they delivered in 2019’s Euro qualifiers is still fresh in the team’s memory; and we think they have every chance of making through to Croatia to take them on for the top spot in their group.