Team news and previews ahead of Thursday’s internationals, featuring Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Netherlands, Belgium and more.
Netherlands vs Northern Ireland – 7.45pm, live on Sky Sports Main Event
Team news: The Netherlands will not have Jeroen Zoet (groin) and Davy Propper (hamstring) available.
Northern Ireland will be without Norwich City defender Jamal Lewis, who has withdrawn with a knee injury. Conor Washington was already an absentee with a hamstring injury, along with Rangers winger Jordan Jones.
Former Scotland U21 winger Matty Kennedy could make his debut after switching his international allegiance to Northern Ireland.
How to watch: Coverage starts on Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm; kick-off is at 7.45pm.
What’s the state of play in Group C? Northern Ireland’s perfect start was ripped apart by Germany last time out but Michael O’Neill’s side still have their destiny in their own hands. A tough trip to the Netherlands, who have been back with a bang over the past 12 months, awaits on Thursday night but even defeat in that wouldn’t be fatal, although it would be a bitter blow.
Leaders Germany could find themselves leapfrogged by Netherlands by the end of the international break, especially if they are held themselves by Estonia on Sunday, while Belarus must beat Estonia too to stand any outside chance.
Coming up: October 10 – Netherlands v Northern Ireland, Belarus v Estonia; October 13 – Belarus v Netherlands, Estonia v Germany
Charlie Nicholas’ prediction: “I think Northern Ireland have been punching above their weight for a while. Steven Davis has held it together for a long time. It is a team that is together but one that does not have a lot of flare. The youngsters are coming through for the Netherlands, while Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum and Ryan Babel have shone. We know all about Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt at the heart of the Dutch defence. It will be a comfortable night for the hosts. Northern Ireland don’t normally lose many goals but I think they will be put to the sword here.”
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 4-0 (17/2 with Sky Bet)
Russia vs Scotland – 7.45pm, live on Sky Sports Football
Team news: Scotland have quite the absentee list to contend with. Grant Hanley, Ryan Jack, Oli McBurnie, Liam Cooper, Kieran Tierney and Steven Naismith are all missing through injury. Scott McTominay is also suspended after he picked up a booking in last month’s 4-0 loss to Belgium.
Kenny McClean has also not travelled with the squad due to injury.
Stuart Armstrong, Liam Palmer and Oliver Burke have all been recalled into the side while John Fleck, Stuart Findlay, Declan Gallagher and Lawrence Shankland are all hoping for their first caps.
How to watch: Coverage starts on Sky Sports Football from 7pm; kick-off is at 7.45pm.
What’s the state of play in Group I? Belgium have a perfect record in qualification so far and they can confirm their place in next summer’s tournament with victory against San Marino or a draw between Kazakhstan and Cyprus.
It’s also a final throw of the dice for Scotland in Group I. Steve Clarke’s side must beat Russia to have any chance of qualifying, but if they don’t they could still reach Euro 2020 as they are guaranteed a play-off place for winning their Nations League group.
Group I could be done and dusted on Thursday if Russia, who are eight points clear of Cyprus and Kazakhstan in third and fourth respectively, beat Scotland and Kazakhstan draw with Cyprus.
Coming up in Group I: October 10 – Kazakhstan v Cyprus, Belgium v San Marino, Russia v Scotland; October 13 – Kazakhstan v Belgium, Cyprus v Russia, Scotland v San Marino
Charlie Nicholas’ prediction: “Where do we start here? On a positive note, I think Scotland are going to play the way I want them to play. They have to build for the play-offs in February – that is their last throw of the dice. Russia embarrassed them in Glasgow in the last international break. Everything Steve Clarke is trying to do I will accept. It will be well-drilled defensively and a soft counter-attack. It is the situation that both teams are in, but Russia are very average. They have not secured second place but I think they will be there or thereabouts after this.”
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-0 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
Slovakia vs Wales – 7.45pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League
Team news: Martin Skrtel, Tomas Hubocan and Adam Nemec are in the Slovakia squad, but are not expected to feature ahead of their international retirements.
For Wales, Aaron Ramsey has not travelled to Slovakia after feeling some tightness with an injury, but will be available for Sunday’s game. Gareth Bale has trained this week despite Zinedine Zidane saying he picked up a knock at the weekend.
Despite issues off the field, Tom Lawrence has been included in Ryan Giggs’ 26-man squad, along with MK Dons defender Regan Poole, who could earn his first cap. Ashley Williams has also been recalled after missing out in September, but Chris Mepham has already withdrawn through injury
How to watch: Coverage starts on Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm; kick-off is at 7.45pm.
What’s the state of play in Group E? Wales might be fourth in Group E but things are not all as they seem. A win over second-placed Slovakia on Thursday would take them level with a game in hand, and with first and third going head t head on the same night it’s near enough a must-win game for Ryan Giggs.
Croatia’s blip against Hungary aside they’ve been pretty consistent up at the top, but there’s a reason Hungary qualified for the last Euros and they’re very much still in it with nine points from five games.
Azerbaijan are already out, despite an eye-catching draw with Croatia in September.
Coming up in Group E: October 10 – Croatia v Hungary, Slovakia v Wales; October 13 – Hungary v Azerbaijan, Wales v Croatia
Charlie Nicholas’ prediction: “This is a good test for Wales. If there is any chance of Aaron Ramsey playing then he should. Wales rely on Gareth Bale but Daniel James has come in and done well. Slovakia are hard to predict and you can get at them. Wales are more patient under Ryan Giggs. Their counter-attack on and off the ball is strong. The importance of Bale playing is key, but this looks promising for Wales.”
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-1 (9/2 with Sky Bet)
All other matches are live on Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports Football via the Red Button, or the Sky Sports app. All kick-offs are 7.45pm, unless stated.
Here’s the full list:
- Kazakhstan vs Cyprus (3pm)
- Belarus vs Estonia (5pm)
- Austria vs Israel
- Belgium vs San Marino
- Croatia vs Hungary
- Latvia vs Poland
- North Macedonia vs Slovenia
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