Luxembourg will host Azerbaijan at Stade Josy Barthel on Wednesday, September 1, in the third round of Group A in World Cup 2022 Qualifiers. It will mark the first meeting between these two nations since November 2020, when they parted ways with a 0-0 draw.
Luxembourg vs Azerbaijan
When: Wednesday, September 1 – 20:45 CEST
Where: Stade Josy Barthel in Luxembourg
Weather: Sunny, 17°C
Referee: Irfan Peljto (BIH)
Luxembourg and Azerbaijan are competing in Group A of the European section of the FIFA World Cup Qualification. Three other teams are in the race for a spot in the next stage, including Portugal, Serbia, and Ireland.
The top spot leads directly to Qatar, while the second-place team will have to go to the playoffs. Those that finish below will stay home in 2022.
Portugal and Serbia currently have seven points apiece and occupy the top two spots in the group table. However, those teams have played a game more than anyone else, meaning that there’s still hope for the remaining three teams to make it through the group and into the next stage.
This goes especially for Luxembourg, who have accumulated three points from two games. They beat the Irish in the first round and followed that up with a defeat against Portugal. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan have yet to secure a point after two rounds of play.
Luxembourg Need a Win Tonight
To keep their World Cup dreams alive, Luxembourg need to defeat Azerbaijan. If they secure all three points tonight, Luxembourg will be only one point short of Serbia and Portugal. The big question is can they do it?
Judging by what we saw in their previous two games, they surely can. In Round 1, Luxembourg beat Ireland, despite being pre-game underdogs with odds of 6.00 at Bet365. If that result is any indication, Luxembourg should do fine against a much weaker team in Azerbaijan.
In Round 2, Luc Holtz’s men played okay against mighty Portugal and even scored one goal. The final score showed 3-1 in favour of Portugal, but the important thing is that Luxembourg players showed the world they can play against big teams.
There are some worries ahead of the Azerbaijan game, though. First of all, Luxembourg will miss one of their best players, Maxime Chanot. The same goes for Vincent Thill, who won’t feature either since he requires surgery.
On the bright side, we should see Olivier Thill and Sebastien Thill back in the midfield. Daniel da Mota is also set to play tonight. Although these players aren’t too famous even among passionate soccer fans, they are definitely more talented than those in Azerbaijan’s squad.
Azerbaijan Is the Underdog for a Reason
Azerbaijan are the worst team in Group A; there’s no doubt about that. The fact that they lost against Serbia and Portugal in the first two rounds hasn’t come as a surprise to anyone. What’s surprising, however, is that they didn’t lose heavier in those two games. Against Serbia, they lost 2-1, while Portugal beat them 1-0.
The explanation behind this is that Azerbaijan played super-defensive in those games. Therefore, we can expect the same approach in Round 3 against Luxembourg.
We should see them sticking with five players at the back – Maksim Medvedev, Elvin Badalov, Hojjat Haghverdi, Abbas Huseynov, and Anton Krivotsyuk.
In the final third, Ramil Sheydayev should lead the charge. The striker is looking to break the record and become Azerbaijan’s all-time top scorer. However, that probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon since he is still seven strikes short of Gurban Gurbanov’s record of 14 goals.
Luxembourg vs Azerbaijan Betting Pick
Even though Luxembourg are far from elite, this team is arguably much stronger than Azerbaijan, which is why we expect the hosts to win this game without any problems. The best thing is that the odds on Luxembourg are very attractive right now.
Prediction: Luxembourg to win – 2.22 at Matchbook, 2.19 at Sportmarket