Luxemburg take on the visitors Iceland in the round 5 match of UEFA Euro-2024 qualifications. The match will be played on Friday, September 8th at Stade de Luxembourg (Luxembourg).
Only the lazy and mute have not mentioned in their discussions that the level of Luxembourgish football has significantly improved in recent years. And this is a fact. Right now, this national team is no longer seen as mere pushovers and clear underdogs in all tournaments. Currently, footballers from this country are potential contenders even for a spot in the Euros. In their current qualification group, Luxembourg have already secured two victories, against Liechtenstein and Bosnia, both ending with the same score of 2-0 and going under 2.5 total goals. They also managed to secure a draw against Slovakia, with a scoreless 0-0 away. We can overlook the heavy defeat to Portugal; competing on equal terms with such teams is still a work in progress for Luxembourg. So, what do we have? Four goals scored in four matches – not exactly a high-scoring performance. However, three clean sheets in four matches indicate that the players from this small nation are defensively solid.
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Iceland also faces problems in scoring goals. Right now, they are not the same Vikings who captured everyone's hearts during Euro 2016. In their away match against Luxembourg, the Scandinavians are not the favorites, and it makes sense. Yes, in four matches of the Euro 2024 qualification cycle, Iceland scored eight goals, but seven of them came against the weak Liechtenstein (7-0). In the other three qualification rounds, the Vikings only managed to score once, at home against Slovakia (1-2), while suffering a defeat against Bosnia (0-3). You might say, Iceland's defense is shaky, but I can't entirely agree. In one of the qualification matches for Euro, they nearly held Portugal to a draw, losing only by a minimal margin (0-1).
In recent years, Luxembourg have made significant progress, while Iceland have noticeably declined. Right now, these national teams are roughly at the same level, so I wouldn't advise anyone to bet on the match outcome. Either the hosts or the guests can win, and a draw is also not out of the question. In this situation, I suggest placing a bet on Under 2.5 goals because there are unlikely to be many goals in this match. This game is crucial, and the opponents are direct competitors in the race for a spot in the Euros. The cost of making a mistake is too high. I assume that both teams will prioritize not conceding goals first and then think about attacking. Moreover, neither Luxembourg nor Iceland have a particularly high-class of attacking players who can score goals in abundance. However, both teams are capable of defending well. I don't expect more than two goals in this battle. The bet is Under 2.5 goals.
Prediction for the match: Under 2/5 scored goals.