Kazakhstan welcome the visitors Scotland in the Euro Qualification – Round 1. The match will be held on Thursday, March, 21st, at the Astana Arena (Astana).
Well, Kazakhstan gradually learn to play football. In ten latest matches, they attained four wins: over Andorra, Moldova, Azerbaijan, and even Hungary. On their soil, the team have already registered landmark draws against Romania and Poland in terms of the Russia 2018 qualifiers. Hence, the opponents need to take the Kazakhstan outfit more seriously these days, especially playing at the Astana Arena.
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Scotland feature a middle-class team by European standards. They have middle-class performers who mostly compete in middle-class English clubs: Fletcher plays for Sheffield Wednesday, Fraser – for Bournemouth, Armstrong – for Southampton, Paterson – for Cardiff City; and, surely, there are players from Celtic. Also, Scotland boast the star Robertson from Liverpool.
On a large scale, the visitors on the day are seen favorites in the match concerned just because of their significant international expertise. In the last clash, they won Israel in terms of the Nations League, but they lost to them away. Overall, on the road, the Scots conceded to Slovakia, Peru, and Georgia, not to speak of the toppers. Kazakhstan won’t be pushovers either. A long trip across half a continent, as long as the jet lag and climate change, will also do their job.
The homeside are mostly staffed with Astana players. Astana regularly compete in European tournaments, so, the footballers still have some international experience. How about Scotland? Did Sheffield Wednesday, Cardiff City, or Bournemouth ever compete continentally? The English championship certainly standouts, and when the Scots welcome Kazakhstan on their turf, the players’ higher class will probably report itself, whereas away, it is nearly levelled off by the factors mentioned above. The opponents have never met before, and the hosts have every chance to take one point at least in their first-ever encounter. A positive handicap never hurts though.
Prediction for the match: Kazakhstan to win with a +1.0 handicap.