Kazakhstan vs Georgia
That's the opening match of the new tournament UEFA Nations League and it's between Kazakhstan and Georgia which will be held in Astana Arena.
First to start with the home national team. Kazakhstan have changed their coach during 2018. The ex-Astana coach Stanimir Stoilov took their national team and they have 3 matches with him, where they earned 2 wins and 1 loss during the three friendlies. Strangely they took a win in the first friendly match against Hungary beating them at Groupama Arena in Budapest with 3:2. Then they had a friendly match against Bulgaria which was also held in Hungary, but there they lost with the narrow 2:1. It was a little bit speacial match for Stanimir Stoilov, because he had to coach Kazakhstan against his own country. Kazakhstan made weak first half, but during the 2nd they were far way the better team and it was unlucky they didn't take the advantage when the result was 1:1. In the last minute of the extra time Bodurov(DF) scored the winner for the Bulgarians. In the third friendly Kazakhstan trashed Azerbajjan at Astana Arena with the convincing 3:0 after brilliant performance by the attacking players.
So, it's obvious Kazakhstan expect much more as results with Stoilov ahead in comparison with the previous qualifications. The start was very good, but still these are only friendlies and don't have to take the results too seriously. I don't want to rely on them so much, but still the last one was against a team from the same region. We know Azerbaijan and Georgia are with similar quality and also neighbour countries. Stoilov said in the press conference, that the main thing which bothers him is the fact some of his players don't play too much matches in their own clubs. He will rely only on well-prepared ones, so maybe a few changes are expected. They try to use more and more younger players combined with the experienced ones in the national team, which is the key of progress of the Kazakhstan football in Stoilov's eyes. The main bonus for the national team is that Stoilov worked for so many years in Astana, he earned the respect of the president of the club, of the players and mostly of the crowd. He qualified so many times with Astana in the CL and EL groups and knows perfectly well the quality of the players in the different clubs, who deserves to be part of the national team and who is not the best option to represent Kazakhstan at this moment. I really believe in him, because he is the best Bulgarian coach right now in my eyes. His achievements in the recent years just approve that.
About Georgia- their team is about 20 places upper in the FIFA ranking, but still the difference between the teams close to number 100 or even out of top 100 in the ranking is not huge. Georgia have some really talented players like Okriashvili and Kazaishvili and very strong midfield as Stoilov has said. But what's their main problem- they play very motivated against the better teams, but also show their negative face when they have to face teams from similar level as their or even weaker national teams. What did I mean? Let's start with some of their results duirng the last qualifications when they played as guests- 1:0 loss against Serbia, 1:0 loss against Ireland, 1:1 against Austria, 1:1 against Wales. Two years ago they even beat Spain as guests 1:0 just before the start of Euro 2016. You can see they can defend well against the much better teams with more experienced and expensive players, but here is the other face I talked about. In the same qualification they also faced Moldova and they drew with them 2 times. As guests they were 2:0 behind before succeeding to equalize for the final 2:2. After the end of the WC qualifictions they started the friendlies very well with some excellent wins over Lithuania, Estonia, even Cyprus, but in the last two they were very unconvincing. Against Malta they hardly took the win with 1:0 via penalty in the 90th minute. The match was played in Austria, but still that sounds more like a poor result against the Maltese. In the last match they even lost to Luxembourg with 1:0, which just approve the fact they don't play too seriously against teams which they think are with less quality than their national team.
I know Georgia have some great individuals and with the new format both teams are in the last league D, where only the winner qualifies for the upper League C. They are with Latvia and Andorra in the same group, so it's obvious these two teams are the favourites for the 1st place. So, home matches are very important here and if Georgia win against Kazakhstan, the Georgians will make a huge step for the 1st place. Stoilov admit the Georgians are the main favourite for promotion in the upper league, but believe me, these words are only to relieve the stress and the expectations in his team. He knows what to do to win at least two of the three home games in Astana, so I will go here with Kazakhstan (DNB), because the draw is not excluded here. I strongly believe he knows what to do in this match and how to prepare the players to take the max points,but still will not risk too much with a straight home win, because that's expected to be the hardest home game for them. The coaches know themselves very well, so let's the better one leads his team to the success if there is a winner here. Home matches are way much more important in this format!
Kazakhstan vs Georgia prediction
|1 (DNB)||Bet365||1.80||10||0-2 LOST (-10 units)|