The first leg of the European World Cup qualifiers will be played on Friday night, with eight expectant sides looking to put one foot in next summer’s tournament in Brazil with a victory.
With everything up for grabs, there is a chance for players to become a national hero – but who will get an advantage on Friday night?
Greece vs Romania
Despite winning eight out of their ten qualifiers in the group stage, Greece finished second behind Bosnia in Group G. Fernando Santos’ men are side in form, and in striker Kostas Mitroglou they have a hitman ready to fire his nation to next summer’s competition.
Romania were second in Group D behind Netherlands, beating Hungary and Turkey into the runner-up place. The eastern European nation have won six out of their last ten games, and have a good team spirit.
For the first leg, Greece enter as favourites with odds of 10/11, with Romania at 10/3 and the draw at 11/5.
Portugal vs Sweden
Despite a squad full of quality, Portugal stumbled through the qualifying campaign and finished behind Russia in Group F, with too many draws blighting the nation’s progress. Cristiano Ronaldo will look to dominate proceedings and will be backed up by quality midfielders.
Sweden are equally reliant on one superstar, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic the talisman for the Scandinavian nation. Germany were too good for the Swedes in Group C, with Erik Hamren’s men beaten 5-3 by Joachim Low’s side last time out.
Portugal will look to end the tie as a contest in the first leg, and are favourites at odds of 4/6. Sweden are outsiders at 9/2, with the draw 13/5.
Ukraine vs France
Mikhail Fomenko’s men were unlucky to finish as runners-up behind England in Group H, losing one game throughout qualification and ending up a point behind the British side. A side on form, Ukraine beat San Marino 8-0 in their last outing.
France had the enviable task of overcoming Spain in the qualifying groups, which they couldn’t do. Undoubtedly a more talented squad than Ukraine, Didier Deschamps’ men will look to keep it tight here and get the tie back to Paris intact.
Ukraine enter the game at odds of 21/10 to get a win, with a draw the same odds and France at 7/5.
Iceland vs Croatia
Iceland have never qualified for a World Cup, but are two games away from making it to Brazil after finishing runners-up to Switzerland in Group E. The Scandinavians boast a crop of talented young strikers that will look to work alongside veteran Eidur Gudjohnsen to hit the net here.
Croatia missed out on the 2010 World Cup after featuring in the three before it. With the likes of Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic in their ranks, Niko Kovac’s men are laden with quality, despite finishing second behind Belgium in Group A.
Iceland will look to put the pressure on here and are 5/2 to get a win, a draw is at 23/10 while Croatia are valued at 21/20.