In a slight upturn in fortunes, our last round of betting predictions gave us one winner as the Swedes claimed a late late win in Sofia that saw our slush fund grow by 60p. While hardly great shakes, a win is a win that keeps us in the game and confidence is high that we can continue to crawl ourselves out of the red and into the black.
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We start our bets for Wednesday night turning to the crunch match between Italy and Bulgaria in group 8. Victory for the Azzurri would just about guarantee them a place in South Africa next year while a draw or defeat would set them up for a very uncomfortable qualifier against Ireland at Croke Park next month. But, what may look like a formality for the Italians at first instance is anything but, with Marcelo Lippi’s side in a woeful run of form typified by the fact that no Italian player has scored in their last four matches in all competitions.
Nevertheless, Dimitar Bertbatov et al are far from the best of travellers, the Bulgarians are without an away win in five games although they have proved a tough nut to crack picking up four draws in the process.
A tight contest is predicted which we believe will be settled by a narrow margin in the Italians favour. As such, we are laying down three separate 50p bets on Italy winning 1-nil (5/1), 2-nil (9/2) or 2-1 (15/2).
Next, we are placing our faith in the Scandinavians as we look to back wins for both Denmark and Norway.
The Danes, leaders of group 1 and with tricky matches against Sweden and Hungary remaining, head to Albania in the hope that a victory coupled with other matches going their way will see the night end with qualification to South Africa. Over in Olso, Norway will be hoping to capitalise on a downtrodden Macedonia side who saw their World Cup hopes extinguished by the Tartan Army last weekend as Egil Olsen will be looking for indicators that his Norwegian side are better that their recent record of one victory in seven competitive games suggests.
Lastly, with William Hill pricing Croatia a massive 11/2 to win at Wembley, we are throwing caution to the wind by punting a quid on Slaven Bilic’s troops to cause an upset against a potentially over-confident England team. A winning ticket will earn us a £6.50 return.