With both of these sides tasting defeat to Ukraine already in this group, this match is shaping up to be a bit of a relegation decider. While Slovakia were sunk by a late Andriy Yarmolenko penalty away from home, Czech Republic conceded a 93rd minute Oleksandr Zinchenko winner at home, which they followed up by losing 5-1 to Russia in a friendly.
As the home side, I’d expect Slovakia to win this; experienced campaigners such as Marek Hamšík and Martin Škrtel should tip the balance in their favour, particularly because their visitors don’t have as single player with over 50 caps - this inexperience will be telling.
I’m starting off with a Slovakia win.
Following their laughably bad World Cup, Germany have kept faith in Joachim Löw to restore the national team back to the top of the footballing pyramid. They’ll be content with a 0-0 draw against France in their Nations League opener, while the Netherlands slipped to a closely-fought 2-1 defeat in Paris.
Though the Dutch look markedly improved under Ronald Koeman, Germany’s record in competitive qualifying matches (I appreciate this isn’t exactly qualifying, but it’s a similar sort of scenario) is scarily good, and they have the experience to emerge from this clash in Amsterdam with all three points.
The gap between these two sides is the smallest it’s been for a number of seasons, but Germany being odds-against favourites proves to be good value for this acca. I’m backing a Germany win in what should be a great game.
Here are just a few reasons why Denmark will win this:
1. The Roy Keane-fuelled discontent behind the scenes has handily coincided with poor Irish form of late (see their 4-1 defeat to Wales for more…).
2. The demons from their 5-1 demolition against this very same opponent, on the very same ground, in a World Cup play-off will very much still be alive.
3. Denmark are a much better team that Ireland – with or without Christian Eriksen.