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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Dutch decline looks set to continue

Bulgaria can frustrate the unhappy hosts

Holland manager Dick Advocaat may not have much to celebrate
1 of 1

Holland v Bulgaria
Sky Sports Football, 5pm Sunday
Greece v Belgium
Sky Sports Football, 7.45pm
Hungary v Portugal
ITV 4, 7.45pm

Holland are in a huge hole in Group A and their fate could be taken out of their hands by a poor result against Bulgaria in Amsterdam.

Any slim hopes of the Oranje winning the section were ended on Thursday with a dismal 4-0 loss to France in Paris.

The result puts France in command of the section and leaves Sweden, Bulgaria and Holland to battle for second place.

Bulgaria have come back into contention after Thursday's 3-2 win at home to Sweden which lifted them two points above Holland and just a point behind the Swedes.

If the Bulgarians are to get over the line, they will have to start picking up some points on their travels.

They have lost all three of their away games in the group, including a 2-1 defeat to Belarus.

However, they are competing well in a section in which they are fourth seeds and have a better chance of upsetting the Dutch than the markets suggest.

Holland have been in a sharp decline since reaching the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup.

They have lost eight of their last 17 qualifying matches and look poor value to gain revenge against the Bulgarians, who defeated them 2-0 in Sofia earlier this year.

Belgium's only dropped points on the road to Russia came when they drew 1-1 at home to Greece in March but the Red Devils can set the record straight by winning in Athens.

The Greeks drew in Brussels despite losing the shot count 19 to two.

They are six points behind Belgium and are more concerned with fighting off the challenge of Bosnia and Cyprus for second place than competing for top spot.

Greece are still a side who rely heavily on strong defence and their attacking limitations were exposed when they drew 0-0 at home to Estonia on Saturday.

Michael Skibbe's side are unbeaten after seven games but that may change against the talented Belgians, who will be looking to get the win they need to wrap up a berth at Russia 2018.

Hungary finished above Portugal in Group F at Euro 2016 but will struggle to match the Iberians in Budapest.

Portugal must avoid defeat to guarantee a top-two finish but they will be more concerned with pushing for the win to maintain their chances of catching leaders Switzerland.

Hungary still have a mathematical chance of finishing second but they lost 3-0 to Portugal in Lisbon earlier this year and are staring at another defeat.

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick in Portugal's 5-1 win at home to the Faroe Islands on Thursday and will lead the charge for the visitors.

Bulgaria or draw double chance
1pt 11-4 bet365, Betfair
2pts 8-11 bet365, BetBright, Betfred

Bet on these matches at

If the Bulgarians are to get over the line, they will have to start picking up some points on their travels
E.W. Terms
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