I HATE tipping international friendlies and just wish they were all as easy to call as Gabon v Brazil.

Thursday's friendly had a narrow Brazilian win to nil written all over it and I was spot on with 2-0, Brazil -1 and under 2.5 goals.

I took a gamble on Lazio midfielder Hernanes scoring first and he actually netted last.

There are big teams in action on Friday including Germany, Holland, France and Italy and the secret is finding who is playing a strong side.

Scotland will certainly be as close to full strength as possible after Craig Levein was hit by a couple of call-offs.

He's included young gun Jordan Rhodes for the first time but it could be an old stager who bags the opener in Larnaca.

Miller was especially missed in the qualifier against Liechtenstein and is 6-1 with Blue Square to hit the opener.

Huddersfield kid Rhodes is being given a taste of the big time before returning to the Under-21s in case England take a look and is 21-10 with Paddy Power and bet365 to net at any time. Craig Mackail-Smith, who netted the winner in Vaduz, is 6-1 (various).

Scotland are a biggest 5-4 at Ladbrokes and Hills to win with Cyprus 5-2 (Chandler) and the draw 23-10 at Ladbrokes.

The last player to score a hat-trick for Scotland was Colin Stein against Cyprus in May 1969 and each of the strikers are 25-1 at Coral to notch a treble.

Coral's Martin Kelly tells me he remembers the game well (honestly he doesn't look a day older than Johnny from the X Factor) and Stein netted four at Hampden that day. To celebrate the feat 42 years ago Coral are offering 42-1 on any Scotland star scoring four tonight.

Richard Gough famously saved the day for Scotland with a 96th-minute winner in 1989 and Hills go 8-1 on another Scotland injury-time winner.

Elsewhere I like improving Belgium at home to Romania. Their only defeat in seven was to Germany and are 4-5 at Coral.

Holland should be too hot for Switzerland but best you can get is 1-3 at Ladbrokes and William Hill.

And Germany are expected to pick up a win away to a Ukraine side past their best. The Germans love scoring these days, with 15 in their last four games, and you can have 7-10 at Stan James. If you take away their six against Andorra the Ukrainians have only netted one in five games – against England.

France entertain the USA and should continue their recent revival with a victory. The French scraped through to the Euro finals with a late equaliser against Bosnia but have generally been much improved from the outfit that “graced” South Africa in 2010.

They face far-travelled USA who always put up a fight. However, they are a bit workmanlike and the French have that wee bit extra quality. France are 4-6 at Coral.


Miller to score first

(6-1, Ladbrokes)


(4-5, Coral)


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