Iceland vs Slovakia predictions for Saturday’s Euro 2024 qualifiers. Who will prevail between these two Group J sides? Read on for all our free predictions and betting tips.
Match Live Saturday, 17th June at 7:45 pm In:
Iceland vs Slovakia Predictions
A Clash of Equals
– Four of Slovakia’s last five matches have ended in a draw, and they’ve kept their last five games under 2.5 goals.
– Iceland have been part of a stalemate in five of their last nine games.
The Group J dynamic of the Euro 2024 qualifiers will experience a decisive moment when Iceland play host to Slovakia this coming Saturday. Both teams have their sights set on securing one of the top two slots in the group.
Iceland currently sits fourth in the group with three points collected from their first two matches, while Slovakia holds the second spot with four points from their initial pair of games. However, Iceland’s journey hasn’t been smooth. Their campaign was jolted with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but they managed to recover swiftly with a resounding 7-0 victory against Liechtenstein.
Leadership Shift in Iceland
Iceland underwent a leadership change, appointing Age Hareide as the man to guide the national team. A veteran at 69, Hareide will look to make an impactful start to his tenure. Iceland, famous for their exploits in the 2018 World Cup and the 2016 Euros, failed to secure a place in Euro 2020. A win against Slovakia is crucial to rekindling their hopes for a top-two finish.
Slovakia’s Ambition for a Stellar Performance
On the other hand, Slovakia will not let go of their current advantage without a fight. Despite Portugal being the anticipated Group J topper, Slovakia’s ambition to secure the second spot is unfettered. Their campaign opened with a goalless draw against Luxembourg, followed by a morale-boosting 2-0 win against Bosnia-Herzegovina. They now aim to qualify for their third consecutive European Championship.
The Power of the Past
Historically, Iceland have not been victorious against Slovakia since March 2008, having faced them twice since then. In their last encounter in 2015, Slovakia emerged as winners with a 3-1 scoreline. However, Francesco Calzona’s Slovakian squad enters this match with a five-match unbeaten streak, the last defeat coming in the UEFA Nations League against Azerbaijan last September.
Probable Line-ups and Key Players
As far as the team line-ups are concerned, Iceland, under new management, is expected to stick with the same players that delivered the 7-0 victory against Liechtenstein. The squad doesn’t boast a plethora of centre-forwards, but Alfred Finnbogason is predicted to lead the attack, possibly joined by Hakon Arnar Haraldsson.
Slovakia, on the other hand, has familiar names likely to start, with Martin Dubravka, Peter Pekarik, Ondrej Duda, and Robert Mak in the line-up. Captain Juraj Kucka will helm the midfield, while Norbert Gyomber and Denis Vavro will bolster their defence.
A Blocked Affair On The Cards
Given the team’s recent form and statistical data, a low-scoring draw seems a plausible outcome. Four of Slovakia’s last five matches have concluded in a draw, and they’ve also seen four of their last five games stay under 2.5 goals. This reflects a conservative playstyle with strong defense, as also indicated by the two clean sheets in their qualifying campaign.
Iceland, too, have been involved in a stalemate in five of their last nine games. While their attacking stats show an impressive 3.5 goals per game so far in this campaign, this is boosted by the win in their last match, and their opposition is significantly more stringent this time. Moreover, their defensive prowess, indicated by an average of 9.5 tackles and 7 clearances per game, suggests a compact and resilient gameplay.
Given these aspects, a Draw and under 2.5 goals prediction seems justified. Further, based on the team’s tendencies and performances, a 1-1 Draw appears to be a decent bet in the correct score market.
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