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Euro heavyweights should ease through openers

Euro heavyweights should ease through openers

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There are eight Euro 2020 qualifiers on Saturday as countries look to start their campaigns with victories on the long road to next summer’s tournament – and Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Spain and Italy should all secure early vital wins.

Republic of Ireland to beat Gibraltar by two-goal margin @ 14/5

Ireland’s new era under returning boss Mick McCarthy begins with an agreeable trip to minnows Gibraltar. Expect them to secure a much-needed win, with the 14/5 on offer for a two-goal victory margin appealing, as they move on from Martin O’Neill’s tenure, which had ended badly with no wins – and no goals – in their last four games last year.

Sweden to beat Romania @ 20/27

Sweden made it all the way to the World Cup quarter-finals last summer then followed it up with good wins in the Nations League over Turkey and Russia. A competitive-looking Euro qualifier awaits when they welcome Romania, who have won their last two games, to Solna, but Janne Andersson’s men should get the job done.

Spain to win and both teams to score @ 9/5

Spain disappointed at the World Cup when being knocked out on penalties by Russia and then their Nations League campaign ended badly with back-to-back defeats to England and Croatia. A less-than-convincing 1-0 friendly win over Bosnia-Herzegovina in November means they have questions to answer. However, Norway are unlikely to provide too many testing ones in Valencia this weekend, although they should score, in an overall healthy home win.

Fabio Quagliarella to score first goal @ 3/1

Italy are another of the traditional European heavyweights with something to prove after failing to make it to Russia last year. They haven’t managed more than a goal in a game since June so don’t exect fireworks in Udine against Finland. The Azzurri are attempting to rebuild but boss Roberto Mancini has brought back in-form Fabio Quagliarella, 36, who has not played for his country for eight years, into the squad. The Sampdoria man may be a good shout to score the first goal in the game, on offer at 3/1.

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Aidan Perkins Aidan is another person with a wealth of journalistic experience behind him, both written and broadcasting. He has played football to a good level and that gives him an extra insight into the reason for selections at both domestic and European matches.

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