Euro 2016 Qualifiers: Four Games Worth Betting On

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Getty)

With players joining up with their international teams for Euro 2016 Qualifying, we take a look at the likely outcome of a few key matches across the groups, highlighting key players to watch.

Netherlands vs. Iceland - Thursday 3 September

It's been a poor qualifying tournament for the Netherlands, its squad having been divided for too long by rampant egos, a few senior players still holding undue influence over the dressing room in spite of dwindling effectiveness out on the pitch. Robin van Persie, in spite of recent struggles in front of goal, remains the frontline striker along with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, both of them 32 years old.

New coach Danny Blind is the latest of the great Ajax team of the early 1990s to take the national team job, succeeding Guus Hiddink, who found it beyond him to coax the required results from the team. Iceland, incredibly top of Group A, has already beaten the Dutch at home, and will make it hard for them away, putting ten men behind the ball.

Top Bet: 9/2 with William Hill for a draw

Germany vs. Poland - Friday 4 September

Who said qualifiers were meaningless? Poland had never beaten greatest rival Germany at international football before last year, and now Adam Nawalka's much-improved team tops the Group D table and has a chance to do the double over a country that has, over the years, appropriated a number of the best Polish-born players.

Poland's squad includes the standout player, Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich, who has 26 goals in 68 games for a team that has never met his own high standards. Former team-mate, Borussia Dortmund's Kuba Błaszczykowski is also capable of striking fear into the heart of defenders.

Germany, with an almost full-strength team, must be considered favourite for this game, and will go top with a win, however this is possibly the tie of the international break.

Top Bet: 22/5 with Unibet for Lewandowski to score anytime

Russia vs. Sweden - Saturday 5 September

Pretty much a must-win tie for Russia, which has gone from being one of the sensations of Euro 2008 to being a laughing stock, Fabio Capello having been sacked amid poor results, with rumours of private investors stepping in to settle the Italian's salary when the Russian Football Union allegedly could not afford it.

Leonid Slutsky's team is four points behind opponent Sweden and eight behind surprise runaway leader Austria in Group G, so cannot afford a slip-up in Moscow. All Swedish passes will once again be aimed at the giant frame (and ego) of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, although it's also worth looking out for Oscar Lewicki and Anton Tinnerholm of the Malmö team that conquered Celtic in Champions League qualifying last week.

Top Bet: 5/2 with Ladbrokes for Russia to win by one goal

Estonia vs. Lithuania - Saturday 5 September

Two of the smaller UEFA nations take part in a Baltic derby on Saturday, with only honour at stake, neither team having a chance of qualifying. However, for football fans, this kind of local skirmish should always be entertaining. The A Le Coq Arena in Tallinn has played host to some memorable giant-killings in the past (a 2-0 friendly win over Uruguay in the snow, for example), though Swedish coach Magnus Pehrsson has struggled to get cohesion with his tactics.

Joel Lindpere, the former New York Red Bulls star now back in Tallinn at Nõmme Kälju, will bring experience and clever passing to the midfield, as will star player Konstantin Vassiljev of Polish side Jagiellonia Białystok. Lithuania, these days without former international stars like Tomas Danilevicius and Marius Stankevicius, may nonetheless give a start to Juventus-registered 20 year-old midfielder Vykintas Slivka, who may make a few European clubs sit up and take notice.

Estonia is marginal favourite for this game, having both home advantage and slightly better players overall - but Lithuania won the first game between these teams in Group E, in Kaunas last year.

Top Bet: 11/4 with Bet365 for Vassiljev to score anytime

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