Poland and Denmark go head to head as 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Group E’s biggest favourites to make it to the finals in Russia meet after contrasting starts to their respective qualifying campaigns. Hosts will be under great pressure to deliver and live up to their fading reputation.
Another disappointment for Poland
Having been prematurely eliminated from the 2016 Euro in France at the hands of ultimate tournament winners Portugal in the quarter-finals, Poland have entered World Cup qualifying cycle looking to improve their record and live up to everybody’s expectations. Blessed with having one of the most prolific strikers in the world football Robert Lewandowski, the Polish team still failed to make their presence known at the international stage and the beginning of the latest chapter brought only more disappointment. Adam Nawalka were stunned by Kazakhstan who pulled off an impressive comeback to claim an inspiring 2-2 draw against the highly favoured Polish. Poland fought bravely, but missed plenty of chances to close the deal against inspired opposition, who did well to make life hard for Nawalka’s men at the beginning of the qualifications. With all being said, Poland will be under great pressure to beat Denmark and take over the leading position in the group.
Adam Nawalka did not deviate from his previous squad list much, with only a couple of changes such as Damian Dabrowski from Cracovia Krakow, who could be given a chance to make his international debut. Lukasz Skorupski and Pawel Dawidowicz have been re-called, while Slawomir Peszko and Krysztof Maczyinski are injured for the occasion.
Four on the trot?
Denmark travel to Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw looking to notch back-to-back wins at the beginningof the qualifying cycle that would be huge morale boost for Age Hareide’s men. Having missed the 2016 European Championship finals in France, Denmark are determined to make it to the major international scene after a long break. Having been pitted against the likes of Poland, Kazakhstan, Romania, Montenegro and Armenio, Hareide’s men are seemingly given great chance to make it. They are off to a flying start as the only team in Group E with a win from the opening round. Hard-fought win over Armenia will have been a great confidence boost and Denmark will be looking to make it two on the trot in the qualifiers and fourth in total as they head out to Poland. Tottenham star Christian Eriksen will once again be the one to watch. In-form playmaker scored a winner against Armenia and will be keen to lead his team to victory once more on Saturday.
Leicester City goalkeeper Jasper Schmeichel has recovered from his injury and will be in contention for the place between the sticks at the expense of Hansen, who has been left out. Celta winger Pione Sisto and Middlesbrough attacking midfielder Viktor Fischer have been two latest inclusions hoping to make an impression against Poland, while Niklas Bentdner is still to find his way back into the team.
Poland are a quality side who have been unable to harness their individual strength in order to get back to winning ways and recover from a disappointing spell in France. On the other hand, Denmark have notched three games in a row and will be looking to pose a stern test to hosts’ ambitions despite history teaching us that home teams often have a big edge in the meetings of the two sides.
Top pick: Home win 2.1 (11/10) @Bet365
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – yes 2.00 (1/1) @WilliamHill
Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals 2.25 (5/4) @BetVictor