Moldova v France

World Cup defending champions France will make their first-ever trip to Moldova on Friday as these two battle in the Euro 2020 qualifiers. The hosts have a high chance of qualifying for this season’s European Championships since they are by far the greatest side in the Group H. Furthermore, they managed to keep up their good form since their victory in the 2018 World Cup.

Moldova are going to be in an unfortunate situation on Friday when they face France. Alexandru Curteian’s men are currently ranked as the fifth worst side in all of Europe as well as sitting at the 170th place in the FIFA World Rankings. They managed to end their Nations League group stages at the third spot only because they beat Europe’s worst team, San Marino.

France, on the other hand, are in complete opposite form compared to their hosts and it looks like they won’t be slowing down anytime soon. They won twelve of their previous 17 fixtures with 30 goals notched up along the way. They were able to dominate the likes of Netherlands, Uruguay, and Germany in the past few months.

Despite the lack of goals, Moldova were able to show a bit of improvement when they tightened up their shaky defence. This was evident by the 6 clean sheets they managed to keep in eleven matches. However, their attacking prowess still lacks the necessary power to score goals and secure victories. Furthermore, they have a shortage of impressive players compared to the number of brilliantly talented players France have in their squad.

The visitors will enter this match as the more dominant side so a victory should be on the cards for them. Despite France’s somewhat average defensive line, it still doesn’t seem like Moldova could overpower a team like France.  

Portugal v Ukraine

Reigning champions Portugal will once again begin their quest for the European Championship title when they host Ukraine for their Euro 2020 qualifiers clash. Fernando Santos and his men weren’t able to build on the success of claiming the Euro 2016 victory in the 2018 World Cup, having been knocked out by Uruguay in the second round. The hosts will enter this game in high spirits though after dominating the Nations League group stages.

Portugal will certainly be on the spotlight on Friday since everyone will see the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been called up for his first national team fixture since their World Cup exit last summer. The Juventus striker is Portugal’s top scorer with a massive 84 goals in 154 appearances. The team will definitely be confident in securing the victory especially with Ronaldo on the team.

Ukraine, on the other hand, won’t be as star-studded as their opponents but they won’t make it easy for their hosts to achieve success. Ukraine will be led by national team legend Andriy Shevchenko, who managed to lead the team to a remarkably impressive Nations League campaign. They achieved a well-deserved promotion to the top tier, winning three out of four fixtures.

Furthermore, Ukraine’s record on the road has been a series of ups and downs in recent years. They lost to Iceland and Croatia in the World Cup qualifiers, but manage to win against Finland and Kosovo. In the Nations League, they won against Czech Republic before losing in the hands of Slovakia.

A tight contest is expected to take place between these two teams. But with Ronaldo expected to play for Portugal, a home victory seems to be on the cards.

England v Czech Republic

England will begin their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a home match against Czech Republic on Friday. After leading England to the semi-finals in last summer’s World Cup and the final four in the Nations League, Gareth Southgate will be looking to extend England’s terrific performance in the Euro 2020 the following year.

The hosts haven’t shown signs of ever slowing down after their terrific World Cup run. Despite losing to Spain in their first Nations League fixture, they went on to pick up four victories in five games which promoted them to the top spot of their group. Furthermore, Gareth Southgate will most likely feature some of his best players like Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, and Raheem Sterling.

In the meantime, Jaroslav Silhavy’s men are rather less extraordinary talents compared to their opponents though they have their own brilliantly capable players. England should be wary of Matej Vydra and Patrick Schick, who are very dangerous up front and could pose as a threat for them.

However, Czech Republic doesn’t seem to have the dominance their opponents have. They failed to leave a mark in their Nations League campaign, with their only victories coming in the group stages against Slovakia. Furthermore, they weren’t able to make their cut in the World Cup qualification.

With enough firepower to secure a comfortable win as well as a home advantage, expect England to dominate Wembley on Friday.

By @EliaasMJ

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