HERE we go again, another weekend of football ruined by international matches :(
But all is not lost, there are a few fixtures that fit firmly in the Minnow v Giant category so it's another chance to try to cash in on a range of correct scores.
If you've followed this bet before you'll know that my preference is to take three of the smaller nations to lose to larger ones without scoring, and perm three correct scores for a total of 27 bets.
Gibraltar v Denmark (Thursday 7.45)
Football in Gibraltar is on an upward curve. It was only in 2014 that they played their first ever competitive game but they've come a long way in a short space of time. Despite a population which you could comfortably fit inside Goodison Park they're showing signs of being more competitive at this level and a trip to Gibraltar is no longer the gimme it used to be.
In the last 18 months the 7-0s, 8-0s and even 9-0s (v Belgium 2017) have disappeared from the scoresheet, albeit against relatively poorer opposition. There have even been three wins, two of which came in Nations League Group matches versus Armenia and Leichtenstein.
Most helpful though are their recent results against Republic of Ireland, who are close to being on a par with Thursday's opponents Denmark (they drew 1-1 in June). The Irish scraped a 1-0 win at the Victoria Stadium back in March, then followed up with a 2-0 victory in Dublin, a scoreline made slightly more respectable by Robbie Brady's 93rd minute strike.
So we can probably forget about the Danes running up a cricket score on the Rock. The Danes aren't renowned for their scoring prowess and prior to the start of this European Championship campaign they'd scored just 14 in their last 15 internationals. However they've scored nine in the opening three matches including three in the last ten minutes at Switzerland (3-3) and five at home to Georgia.
I can't bring myself to sit through the 90 minutes hoping Denmark only win 1-0, so I'm going for 2-0, 3-0 and 4-0.
San Marino v Belgium (Friday 7.45)
According the Coca-Cola FIFA World Rankings this is THE biggest mismatch in international football.
In the blue corner, ranked bottom at 211th, and officially the worst international team in the world; paperweights, San Marino.
In the red corner, ranked no.1 in the world, super-heavyweight Champions of Nothing (yet); Belgium.
Let's get ready to rumbllllllllllllle!
To give some perspective, this is like Man City and all their superstars lining up against say, Matlock Town of the Evo-Stick League; the seventh tier of English football's pyramid.
A clean sheet for the Belgians isn't in doubt here. San Marino haven't scored in 12 matches. Roll back a bit further and they've scored three in their last 30 games. A 2004 1–0 friendly win against Liechtenstein remains their sole victory to date.
The team is made up mostly of amateurs and they've been on the end of a few thumpings in their time including a 13-0 home defeat to Germany which is a European Championships record. They've conceded double-figures on four other occasions. That makes this one tricky to call because Belgium could easily score anywhere between six and twelve goals here if they're in the mood.
Scotland won 2-0 here in March but a better indicator might be defeats to Norway (8-0), Czech Republic (6-0) and Germany (8-0) during World Cup 2018 qualification.
Belgium face a trip to Glasgow on Monday so Roberto Martinez may take the opportunity to play some fringe players (both Hazards are out for example), which might help keep the score down a touch, but for me we have to start at 6-0 and therefore include 7-0 and 8-0.
Turkey v Andorra (Saturday 7.45)
“I'm profoundly in love with Andorra” – actually, I'm not, and I'll tell you why…
They appear to be getting better. 2018 was by far the most successful in the nation's footballing history; P9 W1 D7 L2 – phenomenal stuff!
Yes, there were four 0-0 draws in there and they scored the sum total of three goals but when you consider they went on a losing streak of 32 consecutive games between 2007-2011 that's a significant improvement.
The fixtures were kind, but stand-out results last year were draws with Georgia and Latvia (twice). And don't forget how they stunned Hungary back in 2017.
However, the Andorrans have lost all four games to nil in 2019 and haven't scored a competitive goal away from home since Cristian Martínez stunned Landsdowne Road almost nine years to the day. Therefore we can put our faith in a Turkey clean sheet.
It's difficult to know what to expect from Turkey. They had a disappointing Nations League campaign, finishing bottom of three against Russia and Sweden. A win over World Champions France raised hope in June only to be followed by defeat in Iceland three days later.
Andorra's last visit to Turkey saw them lose 5-0 and we shouldn't be too far away from that on Saturday. But they've lost by more than four goals just once in the last five years (6-0 in Portugal) so it makes more sense to cover the lower end of corrects scores and to go for 3-0, 4-0 or 5-0.
Finally, a heads-up on some more fixtures that fit the bill over the weekend; Greece v Leichtenstein (Sunday 7.45), Switzerland v Gibraltar (Sunday 7.45), Romania v Malta (Sunday 7.45), France v Andorra (Tuesday 7.45)
- Gibraltar v Denmark – 0-2, 0-3 & 0-4
- San Marino v Belgium – 0-6, 0-7 & 0-8
- Turkey v Andorra – 3-0, 4-0 & 5-0
- Perm 3 matches x 3 correct scores for 27 Treble Bets
- Lowest Treble Odds; 155/1. Best Treble Odds 415/1 Bet365.