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Charlie’s international predictions

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Charlie Nicholas

Football Expert

Last Updated: 08/06/17 11:46pm

football pundit charlie nicholas 3354452

Former Scotland international Charlie Nicholas provides us with his predictions for the World Cup Qualifiers as England visit Hampden Park.

Gareth Southgate’s men will be looking to strengthen their four-point lead at the top of Group F, whereas Scotland need a win to put themselves back in contention after winning just two of their five qualifiers.

Saturday also sees Northern Ireland head to Azerbaijan in Group C, while there’s two crucial clashes in Group D on Sunday as the top four face off with Republic of Ireland hosting Austria before Wales visit Serbia.

Here’s what Charlie is predicting for the four matches…

Scotland v England (Saturday, 5pm)

This is the final Scotland must-win game to have any chance of qualifying for the World Cup, while also the one where England can really wrap it up for themselves.

The hard part for me as a Scot is that we don’t have players in significant positions who can really hurt England, and the bookies are being kind in giving us half a chance.

England could benefit from the partnership of Tottenham pair Dele Alli and Harry Kane

England could benefit from the partnership of Tottenham pair Dele Alli and Harry Kane

England could benefit from the partnership of Tottenham pair Dele Alli and Harry Kane

The Celtic players are obviously on a high after what they achieved and the one I’m pinning my hopes on is Craig Armstrong. He’s not signed a new contract and I imagine teams of significance in England will be interested, especially if he performs on Saturday.

Scotland will play cautiously and have a real problem at right-back so for me they should play a 5-4-1 formation, keeping it compact with Scott Brown and Darren Fletcher holding, to give themselves any chance of making it difficult for England.

The partnership of Dele Alli and Harry Kane is the one that really worries me. These guys have struck up a tremendous partnership and they are clever enough to create space against any backline shape.


Scotland vs England

June 10, 2017, 4:00pm

Live on

Some might expect the Glasgow crowd to upset England but they’ve won pretty easily in recent visits and I’m expecting to ease to a victory, which will most likely end Gordon Strachan’s reign.

Charlie predicts: 1-3 and Alli to score first

Azerbaijan v Northern Ireland (Saturday, 5pm)

Northern Ireland lost 2-0 the last time they went to Azerbaijan so they certainly won’t be underestimating the task on their hands.


Azerbaijan vs N Ireland

June 10, 2017, 4:45pm

Live on

Azerbaijan are a difficult side to break down and they won’t come out to play. Northern Ireland are a decent counter-attack team so that won’t suit them, so I’m going for a draw.

Charlie predicts: 1-1 and Deniz Yilmaz to score first

Rep of Ireland v Austria (Sunday, 5pm)

Martin O’Neill has brought in his experienced players and they produced a decent performance to beat Uruguay in preparation for this key game.


Rep Ire vs Austria

June 11, 2017, 4:30pm

Live on

Martin O’Neill has Ireland in a strong position

Martin O’Neill has Ireland in a strong position

Martin O’Neill has Ireland in a strong position

They’re not generally that impressive to watch but they are a good unit and are good at grinding out results at home.

Charlie predicts: 1-0 and Jeff Hendrick to score first

Serbia v Wales (Sunday, 7.45pm)

Serbia are a strong side but at least Wales have got Aaron Ramsey back in form.

Chris Coleman has done a very good job with Wales but Serbia, who are a bit unpredictable away, are a very tough, physical team at home and I can see them getting the win.

Charlie predicts: 2-0 and Dusan Tadic to score first

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