Norway vs Czech Republic by Isaiah
After just five rounds played in the new qualifying campaign, Norway is almost without chances of reaching even second play-off position at the table, having just one victory and four defeats already, being second from the bottom with just a victory over San Marino.
They have already suffered defeats to Azerbaijan, Northern Ireland, Czech Republic and Germany, scoring just once in those four rounds. In the last official game they lost away from home against Northern Irelans late in March, without showing much of competitive spirit in that one. The team quickly got into problems, as they conceded the goal in fourth minute via Ward, while Washington doubled up the lead for Northern Irish side in 33rd minute. Norwegians were better later on, however without changing anything overall. They are now with seven points less than second placed Northern Ireland and even a victory here doesn't mean that they are back in the fight for second spot.
Hosts will not be counting at defenders Vegard Forren (33/1, no club), Omar Elabdellaoui (24/0, Hull City), Martin Linnes (15/0, Galatasaray), midfielders Per Clijan Skjelbred (43/1, Hertha), Alexander Teyyet (34/3, Norwich), forwards MOhammed Abdellaoue (33/7, Valarenga), Joshua King (28/7, Bournemouth) and Adama Diomande (11/1, Hull City) in comparison to previous few call-ups.
After a poor start and three matches without a victory, Czech Republic did improved later on with victories over San Marino and Norway, but the side is far away from being safe in their race for the World Cup 2018 in Russia. After five rounds played, they are already seven points below leaders from Germany and two below Northern Ireland, with their best shoot being second position and additional play-off stage.
In the most recent competitive game, they easily won over San Marino away from home 6:0, as it was no real match for them, with the Czechs taking five goals lead after the first halftime. Darida and Barak scored twice, Gebre Selassie and Krmencik added one each for a convincing victory that will surely give them at least slight morale boost. They've played also a friendly game against Belgium on Monday evening losing out 2:1 away from home.
Experienced goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny (7/0, Werder Bremen) wasn't invited for this one, as well as defenders Daniel Pudil (35/2, Sheffield Wednesday), Michael Kadlec (67/8, Sparta Prague), midfielders Jiri Skalak (16/0, Brighton), Josef Sural (15/1, Sparta Prague), forwards Matej Vydra (20/5, Derby), Tomas Necid (44/12, Legia) and Vaclav Kadlec (15/3, Sparta Prague) in comparison to previous couple of call-ups.
Czech Republic is probably away from their best form, but even so I don't see them losing here. Draw can't be excluded since the Norwegians are hosts, however if one of the teams is to celebrate, then I'm definitely giving way bigger chances to the visiting side. Hosts are who are under imperative of victory and in case they open up, I see plenty of chance for the guests.