International football returns this week and BetVictor Brand Ambassador Michael Owen is here to preview all the domestic action.
Serbia to win to nil
Serbia v Republic of Ireland 1-0
The Republic of Ireland face a tough trip to Serbia amid a poor recent run away from home. Stephen Kenny’s side have only registered one win in 15, coming in a 1-0 win away to Gibraltar back in 2019 under Mick McCarthy.
Serbia have lost just one of their last 13 matches in World Cup qualifying, winning eight and drawing four, so there’s no doubt about the task facing the Irishmen here.
The Irish haven’t scored a single goal in any of their last seven matches in all competitions, their longest ever goalless stretch, and for me, their lack of quality in front of goal could be their undoing again.
Although I think it could be tight, ultimately, I see it ending with a narrow win for the home side.
Belgium to win -1 goal
Belgium v Wales 2-0
We must go back to 2016 when these two last met. Belgium ended Wales’ epic Euro 2016 run with a 3-1 win in the quarter-finals.
Since then, Belgium have stayed in and around the summit of the world rankings and I get the feeling that if they are to win a trophy, it will come in the next couple of years.
Romelu Lukaku has netted 40 goals in 38 appearances under Roberto Martinez, and if he’s in the mood, I think the striker could play a big part in a home win.
Italy to win to nil
Italy v Northern Ireland 2-0
Unbelievably, Italy haven’t lost a home match in a Euros/World Cup qualifying campaign since a 3-2 defeat to Denmark in a Euro 2000 qualifier in September 1999.
So, it’s fair to say this will be a tough task for the away side. They arrive here winless in each of their last 10 matches in all competitions, drawing four and losing six.
For me, Italy look solid, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them come away with a comfortable win.
Under 2.5 goals
Scotland v Austria 1-1
With qualification to Euro 2020 secured at the end of last year, I’m sure there will still be a feel-good factor amongst the Scotland squad when they meet up ahead of this clash at Hampden.
However, since that memorable night, the Scots have lost back-to-back matches. They welcome an Austria side that seem to relish playing away from home. The Austrians won all four of their matches on their travels in 2020, so I expect them to come here and have a go.
I don’t think there is a huge amount between these two and given both sides lack of goals in recent matches, I’m siding with a 1-1 draw in Glasgow.
England to win 6-0
England v San Marino 6-0
The visit of San Marino to Wembley gives Gareth Southgate the chance to rest a few players. The gulf between these two is there for everyone to see, which isn’t great if you’re a neutral.
That said, it’s the ideal opportunity to bring in fringe players to boost squad morale going into future matches.
I have no doubt that England will be professional, and if they play anywhere near their best, I think it could be a long night for the visitors.