Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Belgium – European Championship Qualification – Group B – 10.13.2014
I really enjoy watching this “Golden Generation” Belgium team. They have a stacked squad that is young, and will be a serious contender in the next few major tournaments. In fact, I am predicting them to win the 2016 Euro Championship – that’s how much I like this team. Eden Hazard is one of the best youth players in the world. Midfielders Dries Mertens, Maroune Fellaini, and Axel Witsel are solid as well. One can easily make the argument that Vincent Kompany is the best defender in the world, at the moment. The young keeper Thibaut Courtois, who Mourinho has recently chosen over the great Petr Cech at Chelsea – after recalling him from loan from Atletico Madrid – is arguably one of the top 5 keepers in the world.
Belgium has only lost one match in its last 11 in all competitions. They have only lost two meaningful games since 2010. One was against Argentina in the Quarter Finals of the World Cup, this summer, and the other was to Germany in a EC qualifier back in 2011. In addition, Belgium won all five of it’s road games in their WC qualification group.
Bosnia and Herzegovina easily qualified for this summer’s WC, but were humbled in the tournament – failing to qualify for the next round behind Nigeria. Their poor run has continued in the EC Group B qualifiers, losing to Cyprus at home on Matchday 1 and drawing with Wales away in the second round. I really like Belgium to continue its dominance on the world stage. Pick: Belgium win at +114 (5Dimes).
Latvia v. Turkey – European Championship Qualification – Group A – 10.13.2014
Turkey has been a big disappointment thus far in qualification, as they were considered one of the favorites to progress from the group. They surprisingly lost in Iceland 3-0 in the first match, where they were reduced to 10 men when Leverkusen’s Omer Toprak was ejected in the 59th minute. Turkey was only down 1-0 before the red card.
Turkey then lost to the Czech Republic at home, this past Friday, after getting on the score sheet first. Turkey had 17 shots in the game, forcing Petr Cech into five saves. Turkey were a bit unlucky in the match. Turkey’s Arda Turan and Gokhan Tore created some dangerous chances.
Turkey needs to get it going fast if they want to have a chance of qualifying. They desperately need to grab all three points tonight. Turkey is the better team, and I think their coach Fatih Terim will fire them up for this one. I’ll take Turkey to finally get a win in the group. Pick: Turkey win at -151 (5Dimes).
Iceland v. Netherlands – European Championship Qualification – Group A – 10.13.2014
Many were surprised with both these teams after Matchday 1, as Iceland shocked Turkey at home 3-0, and the Netherlands lost to the Czech Republic away 2-1. Holland then bounced back against Kazakhstan at home 3-1 after being down 0-1 at HT, on Friday, and Iceland defeated Latvia 3-0 away.
Holland has not played to their world class potential thus far. They are currently going through a transition period, and are still adjusting to Guus Hiddink’s 4-3-3 system. Hiddink is one of the best coaches in the world, and now with a couple games under their belt – I think we’ll start to see the Holland everyone expects to see. Holland have too much firepower, and they will not take Iceland lightly. Pick: Netherlands to win at -152 (5Dimes).
Hakan’s Sports Picks
Futbol/Soccer Picks: 2-3
NFL Picks: 2-3