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Stuart Dalgleish 11th Oct 2010 - 18:32

Home Nations preview

All the Home Nations, and Republic of Ireland, are in action on Tuesday night, here's a round-up of the latest news ahead of their crucial Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Faroe Islands v Northern Ireland - 16:00 live on Sky Sports 1

If you would've offered Nigel Worthington four points from Northern Ireland's first two qualifiers he'd have bitten your arm off.

Two terrific performances, where they stunned Slovenia and held former World champions Italy have left the Men in Green in great shape as they try to reach their first major finals for nearly 25 years.

Worthington could even have been looking at a maximum haul if the referee would've spotted two handball's from Italy and had David Healy (7/2 first goal) taken his guilt-edged chance in the first half.

That sadly didn't happen but at least they're unbeaten still, and here is where they should be able to really signal their intentions in the qualifying group.

It is these sort of games that have left NI with red faces over the years, they won't need reminding of the Euro 2008 qualifiers, where they beat Spain and Sweden at Windsor Park, but lost against Iceland and Latvia in extremely disappointing fashion.

Their cause for the trip to the Faroes (8/1, the draw is 7/2) isn't helped by the loss of Craig Cathcart, but they should have enough in them to get the three points.

Healy's missed chance against Italy means he is now 14 games without a goal on the international stage, it's a far cry from the form which saw him notch 13 times in the 2008 qualifiers, this is the sort of game where he should prosper but I'd expect him to come on in the second half and for Kyle Lafferty (7/2) to start in his place.

The Rangers man has seven goals from 27 internationals and I'd take the price of 11/10 for him to score at any time and for NI to get the points.


Slovakia v Republic of Ireland - 19:30 live on Sky Sports 3

The Republic (11/5) enjoyed a fantastic start to their qualifying campaign, taking six points out of six in their first two matches, then the wheels came off.

They looked good in the early stages of their game against Russia, but then Kerzhakov struck and they quickly folded, a late rally saw Ireland grab two goals but it wasn't enough and the Russians left the Aviva Stadium with a 3-2 win.

They now head to Zilina for a tough looking match against Slovakia (11/8, the draw is 2/1). Giovanni Trapattoni has been dealt a blow ahead of the match with the news that Kevin Doyle has been ruled out with a knee injury.

Shane Long (7/1 first goal) came on in the Russia game and is likely to start alongside Robbie Keane (11/2) following that goal-scoring half hour run-out.

The Irish were criticised for using long ball tactics against Russia, but they had limited options due to them chasing the game and their opponents flooding the midfield.

They will surely try to get it out wide more against Slovakia and get balls in the box, but they'll be up against some pretty good midfielders with the likes of Marek Hamsik (15/2 first goal) and Vladamir Weiss (11/1) so might have their work cut out carving out chances.

I still think that Ireland can get something out of the game as they need a response, a 1-1 draw isn't out of the question and that's a tempting 11/2.


Switzerland v Wales - 19:30 live on Sky Sports 2

Once again, it seems, Wales' (7/1) qualifying campaign is as good as over.

Two defeats from two games have left Brian Flynn's team with a mountain to climb in reaching Poland and the Ukraine in two years time.

If, and that's a big if, they can get a draw from their trip to Basel (3/1, the Swiss are 4/9) they might be able to somehow rescue their season as they'll have two home games in a row, and with a big crowd behind them for the England match in March next year who knows what can happen.

I can't see it happening though, and if I had the money I'd be absolutely steaming into Switzerland at 4/9.

Admittedly they were pretty dire at the World Cup, even when they beat Spain they weren't exactly outstanding, but they should have more than enough to get past a bad Wales side that is missing 12 players.

Craig Bellamy, Robert Earnshaw, Sam Vokes and Joe Ledley are just a few of the faces that will be absent in Switzerland on Tuesday night.

Players such as Gareth Bale (12/1 first goal), who's been excellent for Tottenham this season, will add a touch of class out wide, but at the back is where they will really struggle as they will be without Chris Gunter and Sam Ricketts who are both suspended, Flynn has called up Craig Morgan and Rhoys Wiggins to cover the pair.

Wiggins is one of eight players that are uncapped in the squad, an idea of the task facing caretaker boss Flynn.

Understandably the Swiss are odds-on shots to take the points, I'd look at them with a minus goal handicap at 11/8.


Scotland v Spain - 20:00 live on Sky Sports 1

The toughest challenge for the British teams will be at Hampden Park, where Scotland (9/1) take on the current European and World champions Spain (4/11, the draw is 10/3).

The Scots have a bit of a history of upsetting the odds in these sort of games, with wins over Germany, France and England in recent years, it would be an almighty shock if they managed to beat this classy Spanish side though.

Vicente del Bosque's team are comfortably the best nation in world football and few would bet on them defending their title in two years time (7/2), let alone bet against them losing in Glasgow.

The squad is slightly different from the World Cup, with some less than familiar names such as Aritz Aduriz (10/3 first goal) and Borja Valero (10/1) earning call-ups, the style of play is not.

Spain will be missing the excellent Xavi, meaning extra responsibility on his Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta (7/1); I'm pretty sure the goal-scoring hero from the World Cup final will cope though, even if he has six midfielders to contend with!

You would hope that Craig Levein's ultra-defensive tactics from the Czech Republic game won't be repeated against La Roja, but to be fair he can't exactly afford to go gung-ho against a team like Spain.

Kenny Miller will surely have a more prominent role to play this time after being dropped on Friday; the Rangers striker is having the season of his life in the SPL and could appeal at 8/1 to score first or even 11/4 to strike at anytime.

It's not unrealistic to think that Scotland will score in this game (13/10 for both teams to score), but I'd still side with the Spanish in this one, 2-1 and 3-1 to the visitors are 8/1 and 14/1 respectively, in the summer they were grounding out wins once they got ahead but in qualification it's not unusual for them to press on when taking the lead so 3-1 could be a fantastic price.



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