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Saturday, 28 March 2009

Saturday Yankee - Home internationals

The five British and Irish international teams are all in action today; with England playing Slovakia in a friendly but Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Wales and Scotland all in competitive action trying to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. Lets see

Group 4 - Wales vs Finland (3pm)
With Germany seemingly certain to win this group, Wales must come runner-up to stand a chance of qualification in a three way tussle with Russia and Finland. John Toshack has already declared this game as a must-win one and he is right as the only home games for Wales after this one are against Germany and Russia. Finland are poor travellers with six consecutive away defeats, whereas Wales has an excellent record at home. I would expect that Wales will win this one 2-1.

11/10 Wales
23/10 Draw
13/5 Finland

5/1 Wales 1-0

Group 3 - Northern Ireland vs Poland (5:15pm)
Poland is favourite to win at Windsor Park courtesy of three consecutive wins against the home side, including a 3-0 win on this ground in qualifying for the last World Cup. But Group 3 is hellishly tight and either team can go top with a win as only two points separate the top five. With things so tight I would expect a rash of draws in this group from now on, starting with a 0-0 here, but Northern has to beat more than San Marino to qualify.

13/5 Northern Ireland
9/4 Draw
11/10 Poland

6/1 0-0 draw

Friendly - England vs Slovakia (5:15pm)
The Group three league leaders travel to England possibly hoping to pick up some pointers for playing Northern Ireland (although new Wembley and Windsor Park in every sense from atmosphere - 1-0 to Norn Iron there - to facilities are poles apart). England start as favourites partly due to the weight of money hurled in its direction but also as a result of the discipline and focus that Fabio Capello has instilled. England has not been troubled by anyone but the real heavyweights since Capello's arrival - and I would expect a just about full strength England to win 2-0.

1/4 England
9/2 Draw
12/1 Slovakia

5/1 England 2-0

Group 8 - Republic of Ireland vs Bulgaria (7:45pm)
With Ireland sitting level with Italy on 10 points atop Group 8 a win here will almost certainly eliminate Bulgaria, which has sacked its coach amid rumours of dressing room intrigue. With little to fear from Montenegro and Cyprus, Ireland can then wonder if it can outqualify Italy for the automatic place. Surely a newly coddled Robbie Keane will show why he is the island of Ireland's greatest attacking talent since George Best and score the winner in a game that is bound to be tense, but with Bulgaria missing Petrov and Berbatov there must be room for optimism. Ireland to win 2-1.

4/5 Republic of Ireland
12/5 Draw
15/4 Bulgaria

7/1 Republic of Ireland 2-1

Group 9 - Holland vs Scotland (7:45pm)
Holland is the heavyweight in Group 9 and anything the other teams get against it is a bonus; Scotland's defensive options have badly reduced through injuries and Fletcher, Brown and Ferguson will have it all on to clog up the orange tide. Depite the creative talent available to Holland the balance is tricky, and in winning three games the team has only managed five goals. I would expect a strong looking Scotland midfield to restrict Holland's attacking threat - but the defence really will have to play beyond itself to avoid conceding. Other than bagging a goal on the break Scotland may be restricted to set-pieces for attempts on goal. I expect Holland to win this game 2-0.

2/7 Holland
15/4 Draw
12/1 Scotland

5/1 Holland 2-0

Yankee or correct score yankee:
Holland 2-0, England 2-0, Wales 1-0 and Republic of Ireland 2-1.

The correct score yankee will currently return £3,500 if all four are correct to a unit stake of £1 (£11 total bet).

All odds courtesy of Bet365

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