Euro Qualifiers: Predictions and Analysis
Soccer’s second most important tournament is happening next summer. Eight teams are fighting for its final four spots in order to book a ticket to France. It’s a pretty big deal, so much so that the Premier League is off this week, and it’s all happening this weekend. Let’s take a look at the match-ups.
Norway vs Hungary
The last time Hungary qualified for a major tournament was when the USSR was a thing, and communism was strong, 1986. For Norway, the last time they qualified was in 2000 for the Euro’s. Norway has been impressive in their last five games including a victory against Croatia. Led by Alexander Tettey, Norway has been solid and it helps that they are one of the more lengthy sides and physical as well.
Norway 2 Hungary 1
Norway is too physical and has the legs to go the full 90 minutes in both matches.
Ukraine vs Slovenia
Slovenia is a tiny country that somehow always finds itself in a major tournament. They are very united with many of the players being teammates for at least ten years, some even longer. They are led my Milivoje Novakovic. Ukraine is an exciting side to watch with Anatoliy Tymoshchuk and Andriy Yarmolenko. They qualified as a Euro host in 2012.
Slovenia 2 Ukraine 1
The little guys find a way to get back to a major tourney.
Republic of Ireland vs Bosnia and Herzegovina
This match will be an absolute thriller. On one side, you have the team that managed to tie the World Cup champions away and beat the Germans at home in Dublin. On the other side of the pitch, you have a star-studded lineup with oldies, but goodies. Bosnia is led by Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic and Everton’s Muhammed Besic. However, Ireland are led by their own legends. Robbie Keane, their all-time leading goal scorer, goalkeeper Shay Given, Aiden McGeady and Shane Long are all players to watch out for.
Ireland 2, Bosnia and Herzegovina 0
Is it really a fun tournament if you don’t have the Boys in Green in the program? Plus, the Irish travel really well and have a good time doing so. In their last Euro tournament, they were beaten badly, so what did they do? What all Irish people love to do; sing.
Sweden vs Denmark
The final match of the playoffs is hands down the exciting of the bunch because of one man: Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He is easily one of the most exciting players to watch, and this may be one of the last times he plays to get into a major tournament. However, the Swedes are also strong in the areas of defense and midfield with players like Martin Olssen, Ola Toivonen and Marcus Berg. But do not overlook the Danes. They are just as strong and have players that can really change a game such as Christian Eriksen of Tottenham, Nicklas Bendtner and Daniel Agger. This will be an absolute thriller because of the attacking nature of both sides and could easily be a high scoring affair.
Sweden 4, Denmark 2.
Come on, you know I had to choose Zlatan. Because similar to the Irish fan base, would it really be a major tournament without a player who can score insane goals and make even more snide remarks? Bottom line, don’t mess with Zlatan.
With that, the Euro playoffs should be quite exciting and nerve-wracking. Happy soccer-watching, America!