Thursday, 1 September 2011


Friday is the best day of the week, as Rebecca Black has made abundantly clear. This Friday though has been made even better by the fact there is wall-to-wall international football for your viewing pleasure, with some significant clashes happening in some of the Euro 2012 qualifying groups. Here are some of them:

Bulgaria v England, kick off 7.15pm GMT

England are currently neck and neck with Montenegro at the top of Group G and while they hope their rivals will slip up against the struggling Wales, Fabio Capello's men face a tough test in Sofia. Bulgaria have been disappointing in qualifying so far with only 5 points from 5 games and have struggled since the retirement of their long term talisman Dimitar Berbatov, but Lothar Matthaus's side will make life very difficult for England on Friday and the draw is best priced at 3/1 with Sky Bet, Totesport and Bet Fred
5 in 3 for Rooney so far this season

However England have looked most convincing when playing away from home in this qualifying campaign with resounding wins in Switzerland and Wales, so expect the Three Lions to walk away with three points in Bulgaria and with Wayne Rooney in imperious form for his club, he looks a decent bet for first goal scorer at 9/2 with Coral.

Ireland v Slovakia, kick off 7.45pm GMT

Probably the pick of Friday's matches is the top of the group clash between Ireland and Slovakia at the Aviva Stadium. Group B is currently as tight as Bill Kenwright's wallet with Ireland, Slovakia and Russia all on 13 points with 4 games to play which makes Friday's clash in Dublin of immense importance.

The Slovakian side are extremely defensive and will look to counter attack through their pacey wingers Vladimir Weiss and Miroslav Stoch, but goals have been scarce with the Slovaks so the 0-0 draw at 15/2 with Stan James is a real possibility.

Shane is no Long shot

However if there is one man who is more than capable of breaking the deadlock in this crucial game, its the in-form Shane Long. Giovanni Trappatoni has shown great faith in the West Brom forward by naming him in the starting XI ahead of usual regular Kevin Doyle and after scoring 2 out of 3 for his club so far this season, he looks a decent bet for first goal scorer at 11/2 with several bookmakers including Boylesports, Sporting Bet and Bodog.

Northern Ireland v Serbia, kick off 7.45pm GMT

The Windsor Wizard will need to produce some magic
His heroics in their last qualifier earned him the nickname 'The Derry Pele' and Pat McCourt can be found at 12/1 with Sky Bet to open the scoring at Windsor Park this Friday. This time, however, his Northern Ireland side will be up against considerably tougher opponents than the Faroe Islands as they take on Serbia, who will be without their captain and defensive leader Nemanja Vidic.

The atmosphere at Windsor Park will be electric as Nigel Worthington's side hope to secure 2nd place in Group C behind runaway leaders Italy and three points against group rivals Serbia would go some way to keep their Euro 2012 dream alive. However the Serbs have experienced players who will deal the atmosphere and last time around they defeated Northern Ireland 2-1, so they represent good value with Sky BetBoylesports and William Hill at 6/5 for the win this Friday.