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European World Cup qualifying play-off Final betting tips: Previews, predictions and odds

European World Cup qualifying play-off Final betting tips: Previews, predictions and odds

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Ten European teams qualify for the World Cup automatically with the final three places determined via the play-offs.

Two play-off Finals will take place on 29 March with the other, Wales vs Scotland or Ukraine, postponed until June.

Portugal vs North Macedonia

European World Cup qualifying play-off Final betting tips: Previews, predictions and odds

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates during the UEFA Nations League match between Sweden and Portugal on September 8, 2020 in Solna, Sweden. (Photo by Janerik HENRIKSSON / TT NEWS AGENCY / AFP) / Sweden OUT (Photo by JANERIK HENRIKSSON/TT NEWS AGENCY/AFP via Getty Images)

When the draw was made back in November, everyone was so excited for a heavyweight final showdown between Portugal and Italy.

Well, everyone apart from North Macedonia that is.

On Thursday night, Blagoja Milevski’s side travelled to Stadio Renzo Barbera as huge underdogs and this was show on the night.

Italy racked up an xG score of 1.98, having 32 shots in old money, but they could not find the breakthrough.

Then, in stoppage time, the unthinkable happened; Aleksandar Trajkovski’s long-range shot found the bottom corner.

Cue absolute bedlam on the North Macedonia bench and in the away section as the Lynxes knock the European Champions out of the World Cup.

North Macedonia only made their major tournament debut last summer, beating Kosovo and then Georgia in the Euro 2020 play-offs.

In this campaign, they’ve already beaten Germany away and now Italy away so are one more victory away from a shock World Cup debut.

Simultaneously, Portugal took on Turkey and looked set for a very comfortable victory in Porto.

Otávio opened the scoring before a magnificent back-post header by Diogo Jota doubled their lead just before half time.

Turkey then halved the deficit before, ten minutes from the end, being awarded a penalty but Burak Yılmaz blazed over the bar.

As the visitors pushed for the equaliser, A Seleção broke up the other end and Matheus Nunes sealed the win with his first international goal.

Fernando Santos led Portugal to Euro 2016 and Nations League 2019 glory but surely will be sacked if they fail in these play-offs.

Os Navegadores haven’t failed to qualify for a World Cup since France ’98 and are now big favourites to maintain that statistic.

Will Portugal end North Macedonia’s fairytale at Estádio do Dragão?

Portugal to win and both teams to score NO is 4/6. Cristiano Ronaldo has scored a record-breaking 115 international goals against 46 different opponents. He is 7/4 to break the deadlock and 4/9 to add North Macedonia to this list.

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Poland vs Sweden

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MARSEILLE, FRANCE – JUNE 30: A flare is seen next to a big Poland national flag in the stand prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match between Poland and Portugal at Stade Velodrome on June 30, 2016 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Poland have appeared at eight World Cup Finals in their history while this figure is 12 for Sweden, but only one will be off to Qatar.

On Thursday night, Janne Andersson’s side continued their quest to make that 13, welcoming Czech Republic to Solna for their play-off semi-final.

In truth, the 90 minutes featured very few chances with the Czechs spurning a golden opportunity in stoppage time.

They were made to pay ten minutes into extra time when Robin Quaison and Alexander Isak combined well with the former cooly slotting home.

After that, Sweden saw out the victory as the 49,000 fans packed inside the Friends Arena celebrated that the dream is still alive.

The Blågult have lost just five of their last 26 competitive matches, dating back to the last World Cup, so certainly will not be easy to beat.

Poland though have home advantage in Chorzōw and will be looking to make that count.

The Eagles were scheduled to face Russia away in their semi-final but that was cancelled with the Russians disqualified due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Instead, Czesław Michniewicz first game in charge of the national team was a friendly against Scotland at Hampden.

In that one, the Tartan Army took the lead but Poland snatched a draw in Glasgow courtesy of Krzysztof Piątek’s 94th minute penalty.

In terms of qualifiers, Poland finished second in Group I, behind England, so have won 28 of their last 40 qualifiers, losing just five.

This one is extremely tough to call but, backed by a huge crowd at Stadion Śląski, Poland might just edge it.

Under 2.5 goals and both teams to score NO is 10/11. Poland to win and under 2.5 goals is 10/3.

Robert Lewandowski has scored 74 international goals, including a brace against Sweden last summer. He is 11/4 to break the deadlock and 1/1 to score anytime.

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