Team news and previews ahead of Sunday’s European Qualifiers, featuring Wales, Scotland, Croatia, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
Wales vs Croatia – 7.45pm, live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event
Team news: Wales are sweating on the fitness of Aaron Ramsey, who faces a race to recover from the thigh injury that ruled him out of Thursday’s draw in Slovakia.
If the Juventus midfielder is cleared to play, Ryan Giggs could switch his forward options around, with Gareth Bale likely to lead the line instead of Kieffer Moore, who the Wales boss confirmed will be assessed after picking up a knock against Slovakia.
Croatia, meanwhile, head to Cardiff with a clean bill of health and head coach Zlatko Dalic could name the same XI that started Thursday’s 3-0 victory over Hungary, though Nikola Vlasic and Mateo Kovacic are pushing for a starting berth.
How to watch: Live coverage starts at 7.15pm on Sky Sports Football and Main Event; Kick-off 7.45pm
State of play: Group E
The equation for Wales is a simple one. A win on Sunday leaves their Euro 2020 destiny in their hands, with three points taking them to within three of Croatia with a crucial game in hand on the leaders.
Lose and Croatia will seal their passage to next summer’s tournament, setting up a straight shootout between Slovakia, Hungary and Wales for that runners-up spot with two games to play.
Charlie Nicholas’ prediction: “This is another tough one. I would not be hopeful of Aaron Ramsey coming back in, but Wales have it in their own hands, so for that reason, you would have to fancy them. Croatia have gone backwards after the glory of the World Cup. They have stepped up a mark with their World Cup showing and the reputation they gained, but there is something about Wales that tells me they are going in the right direction with Ryan Giggs, and I am expecting them to win this.”
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-0 (15/2 with Sky Bet)
Scotland vs San Marino – 5pm, live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event
Team news: Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay is available for Scotland after serving a suspension against Russia.
McTominay’s return provides a boost to Steve Clarke’s squad, which has been decimated by injuries to Oli McBurnie, Ryan Jack, Kenny McLean and Grant Hanley, all of whom remain unavailable.
Steve Clarke also confirmed Jon McLaughlin will start in goal for Scotland in place of David Marshall.
San Marino goalkeeper Elia Benedettini (knee) remains a long-term absentee for the visitors.
How to watch: Live coverage starts at 4.30pm on Sky Sports Football and Main Event; Kick-off 5pm
Charlie Nicholas’ prediction: “It is the one game I am confident on! Steve Clarke owes nobody any favours. There was a lot of people that said they were injured and didn’t want to play for Scotland – a select few just turned up and wanted to play – Andy Robertson has been one of them. Steven Fletcher has been a long servant for Scotland I think he is their best number nine currently, despite not being selected. That should change for the San Marino game.
“Not a lot of people will turn up at Hampden, but let Clarke try something and get a win under his belt. Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor have been decent so I would play them both, and with Fletcher, Billy Gilmour and Lawrence Shankland set to come in, Scotland will win comfortably and get the development they need before the play-offs.”
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 4-0 (4/1 with Sky Bet)
Kazakhstan vs Belgium – 2pm, live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event
Team news: Romelu Lukaku has been ruled out as the Inter Milan striker looks to fully recover from a back injury, meaning Christian Benteke could be handed a start after scoring off the bench on Thursday.
Roberto Martinez may field an experimental line-up with qualification assured: Divock Origi, Adnan Januzaj, Thorgan Hazard, Michy Batshuayi and Axel Witsel were among the high-profile names who failed to feature in the 9-0 win over San Marino.
Kazakhstan can no longer reach Euro 2020 via the European Qualifiers, and after suffering a 2-1 home defeat to Cyprus, Michal Bilek may look to make changes with an outside chance still of advancing to the play-offs.
How to watch: Live coverage starts at 1.55pm on Sky Sports Football and Main Event; Kick-off 2pm
State of play: Group I
Belgium qualified for Euro 2020 thanks to their 9-0 thrashing of San Marino last time out, and it appears to be only a matter of time before Russia join them in the finals.
A point in Cyprus would be enough for Russia to reach a fifth consecutive major tournament but a win for the hosts would breath life into their outside chance of beating the Russians to second spot in the group.
Scotland will leapfrog Kazakhstan into fourth with victory over San Marino, a dead rubber match that presents Steve Clarke’s side with the chance to build towards next year’s Euro 2020 play-offs.
Belarus vs Netherlands – 5pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League
Team news: Belarus and Holland have no fresh injury concerns ahead of Sunday’s match in Minsk, meaning Dutch regulars Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum are likely to retain their places.
Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek and forward Luuk de Jong, fresh from his strike against Northern Ireland, are knocking on Ronald Koeman’s door for a start, as too is 20-year-old PSV forward Donyell Malen.
How to watch: Live coverage starts at 4.55pm on Sky Sports Premier League; Kick-off 5pm
Estonia vs Germany – 7.45pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League
Team news: Germany will be boosted by the return of Timo Werner and Marcos Reus – two players who scored in an 8-0 victory over Estonia in June – after they sat out Wednesday’s 2-2 friendly draw with Argentina.
RB Leipzig striker Werner has recovered from a cold, while Borussia Dortmund captain Reus has shaken off knee injury. Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is in contention to feature after sitting out against Argentina.
Estonia are without injured captain Ragnar Klavan (groin) while defender Joonas Tamm is suspended.
How to watch: Live coverage starts at 7.40pm on Sky Sports Premier League; Kick-off 7.45pm
State of play: Group C
Holland and Germany boast identical records at the top of Group C and can steal a march on Northern Ireland by opening up a three-point lead with victories on Sunday.
Northern Ireland’s defeat in Holland has left with them a daunting task to reach Euro 2020, a task that gets all the more difficult if the top two beat Estonia and Belarus respectively.
Northern Ireland host Holland at Windsor Park next month before finishing their campaign in Germany and victories in win both matches open up a chance of them qualifying courtesy of a superior head-to-head record, but March’s play-offs look to be their best bet now.
All other matches are live on Sky Sports Football via the Red Button, or the Sky Sports app…
- Cyprus vs Russia (5pm)
- Hungary vs Azerbaijan (5pm)
- Poland vs North Macedonia (7.45pm)
- Slovenia vs Austria (7.45pm)
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