Weblog: The football punter

Full credit to Kazakhstan for keeping to traditions

I can't get to grips with these long weekends of international football but thankfully I'm not the only traditionalist left cold by these funky kick-off times.

Hats off to the Kazakhstan FA for arranging their European Championship qualifier against Iceland for the traditional slot at 3pm on a Saturday.

I wonder who Soccer Saturday will send to cover the game. Chris Kamara? Tony Cottee? Maybe John Salako will get the plum gig.

There's no room for sentiment in football betting, though, and I don't expect the Kazakhs to be rewarded for their no-nonsense scheduling.

Iceland started their qualifying campaign with three cracking wins over Turkey, Latvia and Holland (who you might remember from the semi-finals of last year's World Cup).

There was no shame in their 2-1 defeat in the Czech Republic last time out and I reckon the Icelanders can keep their cool and pick up another three points this afternoon.

In fact, I'll be having the tried-and-tested Iceland-Crawley double today. The League One side have been flying under Dean Saunders, winning five of their last eight games and giving a good account of themselves in their defeat to leaders Bristol City.

They're at home to Gillingham, who have won only one of their last seven league games, and I'm banking on Crawley continuing their, er, crawl up the table.

Hopefully I'll be celebrating a nice payout by five o'clock - and, more importantly, resisting the temptation to play up my winnings on Andorra versus Bosnia at 7.45pm.

Be strong, Bunter, be strong.



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Match in Focus

19:45 TODAY SS5

Holland v Turkey

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Holland beat Turkey 2-0 in both World Cup 2014 qualifiers
Expert verdict
While Holland have posted two ugly away defeats in Group A, it’s hard to see Turkey exploiting Dutch frailties in Amsterdam. The Oranje have won both home group games – beating Kazakhstan 3-1 and Latvia 6-0 – and have put together a run of 19 straight competitive home victories.