Here we have a preview for the Uefa Euro 2016 games taking this week, the prize is massive for all the teams. So who will win?
Norway v Hungary
Norway were in a tougher group than Hungary and have actually won more games. Unfortunately Norway being in a group with Italy and Croatia means you are not going to be a favourite to qualify, so they will have to really battle in order to reserve their place next year. Norway are the better side, they have won six games in their group, drawn one and lost three. Whereas Hungary have won four, drawn four and lost two but only had Northern Ireland and Romania to compete with.
Norway are at a disadvantage, they play at home in the first leg of the playoffs, meaning Hungry will have the fans behind them for the all-important deciding 2nd leg. In the first leg I fancy a win for Norway, they have been unlucky not to qualify out right. They were just one point off possible qualification, whereas Hungary were four points off. Soderlund will be crucial for Norway, he is their first choice striker and he will need his scoring boots on if Norway want to progress into the Euros.
He has only scored one goal this tournament, he will desperately want to improve on this, as Norwich defensive midfielder Tettey has scored the most goals so far this season. Hungary will want to win at home and just hold Norway off in the first leg. Hungary strikers Bode and Nemeth will be crucial to both games, if they can get an away goal between them in the first leg they will go into the second leg in great stead.
Hungary will be missing defender Juhasz due to suspension.
Norway are injury and suspension free for this game.
After the two legs are over we expect to see Norway go through to the 2016 European Championship. They deserve to go through and have beaten Hungary every time they have played.
The first leg will be hugely influential for them, if they draw or lose they will be on the back foot and will have to chase the game in the second leg.
Bosnia and Herzegovina v Republic of Ireland
Bosnia and Herzegovina face the Republic of Ireland in their playoff game, they will take them on in the first leg at home then travel to the Dublin Arena to take them on. Bosnia Herzegovina have actually been pretty good in this tournament, they had to compete with Belgium and Wales. Belgium have been tipped to win the entire competition so Bosnia were always going to have a difficult time qualifying outright.
Edin Dzeko has been awesome in the group stages, in his seven appearances he has scored seven goals. He will want to score some more goals and put his country through the playoffs. Bosnia have a great side, a few big name players in there, these players really have to step it up in these next two fixtures and put their teams through. Republic of Ireland have had a great tournament, they were put in a group with previous World Cup winners Germany, and consistent Poland.
They did well considering, they drew their last game in the penultimate group game against giants Germany. That draw confirmed their qualification for the playoffs. Shane Long scored the all-important goal in that game, it could go down in history as one of the biggest goals in the Republic of Ireland’s history. They face tough competition in Bosnia, if they play like they did against Germany they could nab the win. Striker Robbie Keane has been on fire in the MLS this season for his club LA Galaxy, he scored 20 goals, and in he is also top goal scorer for Republic of Ireland with five goals in nine appearances.
A good performance from him could be the difference between them going through and not. A real battle between the strikers in this match, keep an eye out for Keane and Dzeko.
Republic of Ireland are missing Jon Walters and John O’shea due to suspension.
Bosnia will be missing Besic.
After these two legs it is hard to call who will win, Bosnia have been fantastic but the real fighting attitude from Republic of Ireland may actually push them through.
Dzeko will be crucial in both these matches, a good performance from him means goals. An away goal in could be the decider for either time.
Ukraine v Slovenia
Ukraine missed out by three points, they slipped behind Spain and Slovakia despite being favourites to finish in second. They have won six, drawn one and lost three. They lost both legs against Spain, and drew against Slovakia.
Slovenia could have grabbed second fairly easily, they had the undefeated, and England in their group who won all 10 of their group games, but Slovenia finished five points behind Switzerland who came second. Slovenia only won five games, which suggests they will really struggle to beat this solid Ukraine side.
Ukraine striker Morlanko has been their top scorer, he has scored four goals in 10 appearances. Ukraine have not been the highest scoring side, but they have only conceded a minimal amount of goals. Slovenia striker Novakovic has scored six goals in seven appearances, he will be a big influence in the playoffs.
If he can net a goal or two against the highly defensive, but low scoring Ukraine he will put his side in a great place and in good contention for qualification. These two sides have not played since 1999 so a lot has changed for each side. Ukraine are looking strong and they got to the last European championships, they will want to do this again by beating Slovenia.
Slovenia will be missing no players for this game, the manager has a full squad to pick from. Ukraine will be missing two players due to suspension, Stepanenko and Kucher were suspended in the last game and will miss this fixture.
Although this game will be close and a tough match for both sides we see Ukraine have the consistency and defensive qualities to get through the playoffs. If they do make it they will seriously struggle in the actual championships next year.
Sweden v Denmark
A battle between two Nordic countries, we see Lord Nicklas Bendtner come face to face with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. These two teams will be disappointed with their group performances, both could have qualified out right quite easily.
Denmark missed out due to a surprising performance by Albania who finished in second behind group favourites Portugal. Denmark missed out on their automatic qualification by just two points, they will have to travel to Sweden and get a good result if they have any hopes of qualifying.
Sweden missed out by two points, they fell behind Russia who finished in second and underdogs Austria, who finished in first just two points off the perfect 30 points meaning they went undefeated. Sweden have star Zlatan Ibrahimovic in great form, he has scored eight goals in eight appearances for Sweden.
He will be crucial to the qualification of Sweden, he will need to step up and have his best performance if Sweden want to qualify. This will likely be the 34 year old’s last European Championships and he will not want to end it by exiting.
These countries have actually played each other 36 times, with Denmark coming out on top 22 of those times, they have also won the last four games the teams have played against each other. This stat will weigh heavily on Sweden’s mind but they will desperately want to qualify, the stakes have never been so high for either country. We think Sweden will qualify, they have an array of talent in their squad and all they need is a great performance from Zlatan.
Both teams have full squads.
We are in for some fantastic matches, all massively important. The side that start away from home have the advantage but due to the talent in the squads and their current form you can see our predictions below. Our best bet would be Ukraine to qualify they look the much better team over the two legs. Nobody likes traveling to the Ukraine either.