Euro 2016 Qualifiers Previews

Written by Square in the Air

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England's European Championship qualification tour takes them to Slovenia on Sunday. The Three Lions have a perfect record so far, but it always looked a fairly easy group to be fair. Qualification isn’t really in doubt, but Roy Hodgson will want to continue the good form shown so far, as the tournament in France next summer draws ever closer.

However, after the lifeless display against the Republic of Ireland last week, Hodgson’s men must pull their socks up and make major improvements in Ljubljana this weekend. Slovenia have some quality footballers in the side and England won’t have it all their own way, although like England, the home side have their critics after a 1-0 defeat to lowly Qatar. Despite that ‘friendly’ blip, Slovenia will come into the tie with their tales up having won all of their last four competitive home games to nil. Yet England’s unbeaten run in Euro-qualifiers stretches all the way back to 2009, so any confidence Coach Srecko Katanec drums up amongst his players is likely to be readily quashed.

Wales v Belgium
Tonight a capacity crowd of 33,000 is expected to watch Wales take on fellow Group B leaders Belgium in Cardiff. The odds look stacked against the Welsh – who are ranked 22 places below Belgium – a team they have not beaten in their last five meetings. Although Chris Coleman will be pleased to have both Gareth Bale, winning his 50th cap, and Aaron Ramsey match fit, Belgium have talent in all areas of the pitch. The likes of Eden Hazard, Christian Benteke and Kevin De Bruyne could prove too much for a Welsh defence that has leaked goals against minnows Andorra and Cyprus in this campaign already.

Ireland v Scotland
Group D’s Saturday night mid-table matchup between Ireland and Scotland could be the tastiest affair of the weekend. A win for Ireland is imperative if they are to hold any chance of qualifying for France 2016. Their previous two meetings between these side have yielded 12 cards, and there will undoubtedly be a no holds barred mentality to this game with both sides desperate to progress.

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