World Cup qualifiers: Spotlight on the Home Nations

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The first international break of the 2017-18 season is upon us. With a place in next year’s World Cup to play for, these qualifiers could be crucial.

England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are still in with a chance of making the play-offs at least. They’re all in action over Friday and Saturday. Here’s a look at how they could get on:

England

England have only won three of eight games under Gareth Southgate. But they shouldn’t have any problems against Malta.

The Three Lions are top of Group F after six games. Malta haven’t won a single point yet.

Regardless of form, England should have far too much quality for their hosts.

Harry Kane will fancy his chances of scoring his first goal of the campaign. He’s 11/5 as First Goalscorer.

England are huge favourites to win at 1/40. Malta are way out at 80/1 and it’s 18/1 for the draw.

Scotland

Scotland will face Lithuania on an artificial pitch. They’ll need to adapt to the different surface quickly. A win is needed to keep up the pressure on the sides above them.

Gordon Strachan’s side are fourth in Group F on 8 points. Slovakia and Slovenia are second and third on 12 and 11 points respectively. They face each other on Friday so the Scots can gain ground on at least one of them.

Scotland come into this game in decent form. They beat Slovakia and held England to a 2-2 draw in their last two outings.

Leigh Griffiths scored two stunning free kicks against England. He’s 10/3 to Score 2 Goals or more here.

They’re 3/4 favourites to get a vital win. Lithuania aren’t to be underestimated at 4/1 and the draw is 23/10.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland have had an excellent qualification campaign so far. They’re second in Group C, only behind world champions Germany.

They should pick up another win against Group C whipping boys San Marino. The international minnows have no points and a goal difference of -29.

They’ll hope that Germany beat the Czech Republic to give them some extra breathing room too.

Michael O’Neill’s side are 1/20 to win. The draw’s at 12/1 and San Marino are 90/1.

There could be value in backing Northern Ireland and Over 3.5 Goals at 23/20 too.

Wales

Wales have a tough home game against Austria on Saturday. They’ll be boosted by the return of Gareth Bale though.

Chris Coleman’s team are third in Group D, four points off Serbia at the top. They need to start picking up some wins to close the gap. Their last five qualifiers have all ended in a draw.

There hasn’t been many goals in Wales’ recent games. But Bale and Aaron Ramsey give them real quality in attacking areas. You can back Over 2.5 Total Goals at 27/20.

Wales are 23/20 to get an important win. Austria are 13/5 and yet another draw is 21/10.

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All Odds and Markets correct as of the time of publication

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