World Cup 2014 qualifiers latest news, odds and free bets – Tuesday 16 October

England swept San Marino aside on Friday night although any victory in Warsaw on Tuesday night will be achieved by a much slimmer margin against a Polish side that are tough to beat on their own patch

Frank Lampard continues to be absent for the Three Lions although Roy Hodgson will hope that Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole and Jermain Defoe bring enough experience to help England to another three points.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s qualifying hopes are already dangling by a thread after collecting two points from their first three World Cup 2014 games, with Craig Levein’s men travelling to Belgium for a very tough match against an in-form side that won 3-0 in Serbia.

Poland v England 20:00
Waldemar Fornalik became the new manager of Poland following a dismal Euro 2012 campaign which saw the co-hosts fail to qualify from Group A and they will fancy their chances of finishing in the top two of this qualifying section.

Whether they can upstage England at the top of the group is open to question, although this result could have a huge bearing and the bookies make Roy Hodgson’s team strong favourites to claim victory in Warsaw.

Ladbrokes are now the only firm offering even money and that might not last until kick-off, with the Three Lions suited to playing away from home at the moment rather than being stifled at Wembley by the likes of Ukraine and, to a lesser extent, San Marino.

Hodgson will have to manage without Lampard in Warsaw although the Chelsea midfielder wasn’t a definite starter anyway and Ryan Bertrand would definitely have been on the bench if fit. Steven Gerrard will return as captain and the Liverpool midfielder is a 9/1 chance (Paddy Power bookmaker) to score the first goal.

Wayne Rooney passed the 30-goal mark on Friday and he’s the 5/1 favourite to open the scoring, with Defoe an 11/2 chance and likely to partner Friday’s captain as England look to make a fast start against arguably their strongest group rivals.

Poland are as big as 7/2 (BetVictor) to claim a famous victory and they do have players to cause any opponents problems, especially Borussia Dortmund pair Jakub Błaszczykowski and Robert Lewandowski who were both on the scoresheet during the European Championship.

Lewandowski has been linked with a move to Manchester United although he’s still with the German champions and can be backed at 15/2 to score the first goal of the game. Błaszczykowski is out injured and that makes England a more attractive wager.

Belgium v Scotland 19:45
Scotland already need a miracle to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. Before the qualifying campaign began, Craig Levein stated that his Scotland team could go and win against any of the teams in the group, although they have failed to beat the three other weaker sides in Group A, taking two points in the process.

At least there will be less pressure on the Scots in Brussels on Tuesday night against a team who have enjoyed a strong start to their campaign with a home draw against Croatia being sandwiched by away wins against Wales and Serbia.

The latter victory was by an impressive 3-0 margin and the Belgians are a best price 4/11 (BetVictor free bets) to seal another three points which might lead Levein to consider his position as Scotland manager despite an insistence that he is here to stay.

Marouane Fellaini is injured for the contest although the absence of the Everton midfielder didn’t stop them running riot in Belgrade, with Eden Hazard among those players that helped the team enjoy a major win against the Serbians.

As for Scotland, they are a 10/1 chance to claim victory and did look reasonably good in Cardiff for the first hour of the match, while they should really have doubled their advantage and can point the finger at bad officiating for the reason why Wales won the match.

Steven Fletcher has been enjoying excellent form since signing for Sunderland and he’s a 14/1 shout with bet365 to score the first goal of the game, although Thomas Vermaelen and Vincent Kompany will be tough opponents for any Scotland attacking player.

Croatia v Wales 19:00
Croatia sit second in Group A after three games played and Slaven Bilic will be content with what he has seen so far, having claimed a point away to Belgium in addition to victories against Macedonia home and away.

The Croats were great value at Euro 2012 where they came close to beating eventual winners Spain and they will be an accumulator banker at 1/3 (Sportingbet free bets) to claim victory in this match, with Wales having trailed at home to Scotland until there were ten minutes left.

The front pairing of Nikica Jelavic and Mario Mandzukic should cause problems for a defence that conceded six goals in Serbia and it could be worth chancing the 10/11 about Croatia leading at half-time and full-time against a side that have a strong midfield department but little else.

Gareth Bale was the match winner against the Scots and BetVictor are prepared to go 14/1 about the visitors claiming victory in Osijek which would certainly open the group up for other teams, although Chris Coleman’s side might find life tough going against classy opponents. Luka Modric is likely to pull the strings for the home team.


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