Bulgaria vs. Belarus / World Cup Qualifiers – We can freely name this match of the fourth round in the Group A of European qualifications for the World Cup 2018 as consolation one as it is really hard to expect that any of the two teams, being in the group with France, the Netherlands and Sweden, can join the race for first two positions. Their results made in first three rounds fully confirm this statement; the Bulgarians won three and the Belarusian just two points and now below them in the standings is only outsider Luxembourg. Let’s add that both teams won by one head-to-head in recent history, while Bulgaria won both qualifiers for Euro 2008. Begins: 13.11.2016 – 18:00 CET
In Bulgarian team are very much aware that will not easily win Belarus, especially after being defeated in previous two rounds by France and Sweden. Besides, they luckily won at the start of qualifications Luxembourg at home 4-3, but after the match coach Petrov had resigned and took over Dinamo Zagreb. Instead of him bit more experienced Hubchev took the helm.
We have said that he was unlucky to have his debut against favoured France away. Bulgaria was defeated in France by 4-1, which was similar to situation in Sweden were they lost by high 3-0. True, only a handful of most ardent supporters had expected that Bulgaria can do more in those matches so now Hubchev has chance for redemption against Belarus. This time he will face team that will is disciplined in defence and which seeks its chance exclusively through counter-attacks. Let’s add that due to injuries this match will skip defenders Ivanov and Z. Milanov, and winger M. Aleksandrov.
Probable lineups Bulgaria: Stoyanov – S. Popov, Pirgov, A. Aleksandrov, Bozhikov – Dyakov, Chochev – G. Milanov Marcelinho, Tonev – I. Popov
Belarus had a very good start of this qualifying cycles as it pulled off one point against favoured France at home, as the two teams drew 0-0, but then it totally underperformed in next two matches as they firstly lost to the Netherlands away by high 4-1 and on top of it they merely drew at home with outsider Luxembourg 1-1. Right because of that the Belarusian will try to get back on the right track in this match against Bulgaria. Their last week’s victory over Greece by 1-0 away, although it was a friendly, confirms that are on the right path.
True, the Greeks had played the match with practically reserve team as they were saving the key players for far more important qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina, while on the other hand Belarus coach Khatskevich had sent a fairly strong team on the pitch, led by experienced Hleb. Given the Belarusian played fairly well it can be expected that most of players gets chance to play against Bulgaria, especially as due to injuries Khatskevich cannot count on defenders Sivakov and Bordachev, midfielder Kalachev and forward Krivets.
Probable lineups Belarus: Chernik – Shitov, Martynovich, Politevich, Polyakov – Korzun, Maevsky – Gordejchuk, Hleb, Volodjko – Signevich
Bulgaria – Belarus PICK
Although Bulgaria received even 10 goals in first three matches this time will face pronouncedly defensive team, so the most realistic outcome is fewer number of goals.
Pick: under 2.5 goals
Odds: 1.70 at Interwetten (down to 1.65 can be played)