The penultimate matchday of the UEFA European Championship qualifying takes centre-stage as footballers around the globe return to international duty. Devoid of domestic footballing action for a week, the fans will have to make amends with yet another entertaining round of international fixtures, which brings along a bucketload of excitement.

Plenty of drama awaits as defending European champions, Portugal take on Lithuania, while Russia and Germany host Belgium and Belarus respectively. In the midst, Asian giants Japan will make a trip to Kyrgyzstan for their FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers, while Lebanon will play host to South Korea.

With these many fixtures stacked within just seven days, here we provide the Nostragamus fantasy managers five easy picks to get their week up and rolling.


Country: Poland

Match: Israel vs Poland

A brace at the Allianz Arena against his old club, Borussia Dortmund made striker Robert Lewandowski the first player in Bundesliga history to score in 11 consecutive league games. The 31-year-old’s form is so prolific right now that he has scored in all of Bayern's Bundesliga and Champions League games this season.

And as he returns to serve Poland against Israel on November 16, the odds are stacked right in his favour. He was unable to score in Poland’s last game against North Macedonia, but remember that he scored an invaluable hat-trick against Latvia in the matchday 7 of the competition.


Country: Netherlands

Match: Northern Ireland vs Netherlands

Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has propelled to a great extent under Ronald Koeman for the Netherlands. Usually deployed as a no. 10 or on the left side of a three-man midfield, the 28-year-old has four goals and an assist in his last four appearances for the team.

Image: AFP / Sergei Gapon

Koeman’s men are scheduled to make a trip to Windsor Park to face Northern Ireland, whom they defeated 3-1 at home last month, on November 16 so expect Wijnaldum to be the driving force of his team’s attacks on the night.


Country: Spain

Match: Spain vs Malta

A late equalizer from Rodrigo against Sweden last month sealed Spain’s place in next year’s finals, but the 2010 FIFA World Cup winners still have two games to play. First up is a visit of Malta, who have lost all their last six games. This particular game provides the perfect opportunity of picking a centre-half given that Malta have failed to score in all of those defeats. And who better than Sergio Ramos?

Now renowned as a penalty specialist, Ramos has scored three goals in Real Madrid’s last four fixtures. As for Spain, he has four in his last seven appearances, and these figures are superb for a centre-back. The 33-year-old further promises extra points from clean sheets, and goals are only added benefits.


Country: France

Match: France vs Moldova

Despite his limited game time at Chelsea, striker Olivier Giroud remains a vital member of Didier Deschamps France’s squad, and the 33-year-old hasn’t disappointed either. Having scored three goals in his last four appearances for The Blues, this might just be the right time to finally pick the centre-forward in your team given the poor form Moldova are in right now – a solitary win in their last six games.

Moldova, in fact, have conceded a whopping 14 goals in their last five games. Expect Giroud to pile further misery.


Country: England

Match: England vs Montenegro

It is indeed fair to say that midfielder James Maddison is in the form of his life. Afterall, five goals in last seven appearances for Leicester City in all appearances does speaks volumes. There’s no denying his talent and England recognize that as they called him up for games against Montenegro and Kosovo despite his off field antics.

With Dele Alli out of the squad, Maddison is tipped to take care of laying off his teammates, and given the form he is in right now, there are no uncertainties about getting bonus points.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Daniel Mihailescu