It is strange to think that by later this week we will be 30% of the way through the qualifying campaign for all European teams battling for a place in the Qatar World Cup in 2022. Although some teams have got off to predictably positive starts, there are others for whom the games later this week are hugely important in terms of their chances of qualifying.

You may recall, we took a look at the opening round of matches in our article last week and after the second round of matches at the weekend, this is the final set of games for this international break and it means that after them some teams may already be thinking about Qatar in December 2022, while others will be fighting for their World Cup futures.

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Let’s now take a look at the fixtures coming up this week on Matchday 3 of the World Cup Qualifiers in Europe.

World Cup Qualifiers – Matchday 3 (30th & 31st March)

All matches are 7.45pm kick off unless stated.Sports

Tuesday 30th March

  • Azerbaijan v Serbia (5pm)
  • Cyprus v Slovenia (5pm)
  • Belgium v Belarus
  • Croatia v Malta
  • Gibraltar v Netherlands
  • Luxembourg v Portugal
  • Montenegro v Norway
  • Slovakia v Russia
  • Turkey v Latvia
  • Wales v Czech Republic

Wednesday 31st March

  • Armenia v Romania (5pm)
  • Andorra v Hungary
  • Austria v Denmark
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina v France
  • England v Poland
  • Germany v North Macedonia
  • Greece v Georgia
  • Liechtenstein v Iceland
  • Lithuania v Italy
  • Moldova v Israel
  • Northern Ireland v Bulgaria
  • San Marino v Albania
  • Scotland v Faroe Islands
  • Spain v Kosovo
  • Ukraine v Kazakhstan

How Do Things Stand?

In Group A, Serbia and Portugal have four points from two games after their draw in Belgrade. Luxembourg provided one of the shock results of the round, winning 1-0 away to Ireland who have lost both their games so far and look unlikely to qualify.

Group D is another close call with France having four points, while Finland and Ukraine both have two and Bosnia Herzegovina one and it does look like being a battle between those four teams for the top two spots in that group.

Group E is tight with the Czech Republic and Belgium on four points ahead of Belarus with three. Wales are yet to get any points but face a crucial home game with the Czech Republic on Tuesday night.

A number of teams have won both their games so far, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Turkey, Montenegro, Russia, England, Germany and Armenia are the teams with 100% records so far.

Some teams that have already dropped points that would have expected better include the Netherlands, Croatia, France and Spain. All of whom have contested World Cup Finals in recent times.

What Are The Big Games To Watch This Week?

There are an unusually high number of games between minnow countries and top teams, or just two of the lesser nations against each other in Matchday 3’s set of games, but there are a few games that pit some of the genuine contenders in each group against each other.

We have taken a look at each of these games below and given you our tips for each.

  • Wales v Czech Republic (Tue – 7.45pm)

Wales come into this game in dire need of a win after losing their opening game away in Belgium. Now that is not a qualifier-ending result, but it does mean that with the Czech Republic having drawn with Belgium a hoe and won their other game, that if Wales were to lose here, they would be seven points behind Belgium and the Czech’s (assuming Belgium beat Belarus).

The Welsh didn’t play badly in Belgium but just fell to some clinical finishing from the home side. However, I think this is a tricky game for them. The Czech Republic smashed six past Estonia and then drew 1-1 with a very strong Belgium side and I have a sneaky feeling that this could be one game too far for the Welsh.

Without that crucial home support, I fancy the Czech’s to pick up a win here and I think at 31/20 with bet365 Sport, they are a good value bet.

  • Austria v Denmark (Wed – 7.45pm)

These teams occupy the top two spot in Group F, with Denmark having the best record of all the qualifiers with two wins from two and 10 goals scored with none against. The Austrians drew in Scotland and then defeated the Faroe Islands 3-1 to take second spot but this home tie will likely define their chances of winning the group.

The Danes are the seeded team and the quality outfit in this group and in truth, they are a very tough side to beat, having a defence that does not concede too many goals. Austria’s home form though is pretty good of late and I think they will give the Danes a run for their money here.

I can see this one being a real battle between the two teams who I think will be contending in this group come the last couple of matchdays, and I feel a draw is the most likely outcome which is an 11/5 shot with bet365.

  • Bosnia Herzegovina v France (Wed – 7.45pm)

France got off to a slow start in this group, drawing 1-1 at home to the Ukraine, a team that they beat 7-0 at home not that long ago. They did earn a 2-0 win against Kazakhstan at the weekend, but with Finland and tonight’s opponents Bosnia-Herzegovina in this group, they have not left themselves too much room to manoeuvre here.

Bosnia-Herzegovina are a strong side at home and have some world class stars in the like of Pjanic and Dzeko. Any slip up by the French here could be punished by a team that have been improving in recent times.

However, it is hard to see France losing this game and I think the added quality that they possess, notably in attack with Mbappe and Griezmann in particular, should be the key to them earning a narrow win and taking control of the group. Back France to win at 1/3.

  • England v Poland (Wed – 7.45pm)

England have taken control of Group I with two wins in their first two games against San Marino and then Albania. However, the quality of opponent increases markedly for this home tie against the classy Poles, who lie second in the table with four points from two games.

The battle of the strikers, Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski, is how the game is being billed but I think beyond that England have the greater strength in depth, although the Poles are a well organised, strong and discipline outfit.

However, I would be very surprised if we see a repeat of the Polish Wembley shock of 1973, when a draw knocked England out of the World Cup at the qualifying stage. I do expect the Three Lions to earn a win on home soil here and I think that they are the team to back even if they are somewhat short priced at 2/7 with bet365 Sport