Any hopes of advancing from Group C of 2018 World Cup qualifying could come to an end for the Czech Republic and/or Norway this Friday, November 11th if one of them doesn’t pick up a victory. The two struggling nations will meet at the Eden Arena in Prague with their hopes on the line. Reigning World Cup champions Germany lead the group with nine points after three games and are followed by Azerbaijan in second with seven points. Third position belongs to Northern Ireland with four points while the Czech Republic is in fifth with two points and San Marino sits in the cellar with no points. The Czech Republic is coming off of a 0-0 home draw with Azerbaijan while Norway beat San Marino 4-1 at home.
Czech Republic vs Norway – 5Dimes Soccer Betting Line:
- 5Dimes currently lists the Czech Republic as the favorites to win the game at -107 with Norway +266 and a draw at +204
Czech Republic vs Norway – Head to Head:
- These two sides last met in March of 2014 in an international friendly in the Czech Republic and played to a 2-2 draw. Overall, they’ve played each other just six times since 1995 after the Czech Republic became in independent nation. The Czechs have won three, lost just once and drawn the other two. Norway’s lone victory came at home in August of 2011 when they were 3-0 winners. The Czech Republic has outscored Norway 7-6 in the six meetings and has posted three clean sheets while failing to score a goal on just one occasion.
Czech Republic – A Closer Look:
The Czech Republic enters the game ranked 40th in the world by FIFA. They’re in fifth place in Group with two draws and a loss. They’re obviously struggling offensively as they’ve yet to score a goal, but have allowed just three against. The team has just one win in its past six encounters along with two losses and three draws and is winless in three with a pair of draws and a defeat. The Czechs drew their group-opener 0-0 with Northern Ireland at home in Prague.
That was followed up with a 3-0 beating at the hands of Germany on the road in Hamburg. Thomas Muller scored in the 13th and 65th minutes and Toni Kroos scored in between in the 49th minute. The Czech Republic then returned home to Ostrava and proceeded to drop another two points by drawing 0-0 with Azerbaijan.
Norway – A Closer Look:
Norway is currently ranked 81st in the world by FIFA. They occupy fourth place in Group C with a win and a pair of losses. They’ve scored four goals and allowed five against. Norway has two wins and four losses in their past six games with their win in the last outing finally snapping a four-game losing streak. The Norwegians kicked off their qualifying campaign by coming out on the wrong end of a 3-0 whitewashing at the hands of Germany at home. Thomas Muller scored in the 16th and 60th minutes with Joshua Kimmich scoring in between in the 45th minute.
Norway then dropped its second straight game when they were shut out again, this time 1-0 in Azerbaijan. Maksim Medvedev scored the only goal of the game in the 11th minute. They finally earned their first points with a 4-1 home win over minnows San Marino last month. Davide Simoncini of San Marino scored an own goal to open the scoring for Norway after just 12 minutes, but San Marino leveled the score in the 54th on a goal by Mattia Stefanelli. Norway then scored three goals in the final 13 minutes to take the three points.
Czech Republic vs Norway – Takeaway:
Neither of these teams can afford to lose anymore points considering table-topping Germany has won all three games and second-place Azerbaijan has already earned seven points. A loss here by either team or just a draw for the Czech Republic will more or less eliminate them from contention.
by Ian S. Palmer