World Cup Qualification Group C consists of Germany, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, San Marino and Norway. With the Germans fully expected to take first place, with our live odds comparison, tips and analysis, we're going to try and predict who can nick a play-off spot in this highly competitive group.
Joachim Low's Germany got their World Cup qualifying campaign off to the perfect start by easing to a 3-0 away victory against Per-Mathias Hogmo's Norway in Oslo last week. Two goals from the prolific Thomas Muller and a strike from the young, exciting Joshua Kimmich were enough to seal the points.
Whilst the World champions were putting the Norwegians to the sword, Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland earned a very respectable 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic in Prague – and Azerbaijan won the battle of the minnows, with Ruslan Qurbanov's goal proving the difference in San Marino.
In truth, it's difficult to see anyone stopping the Germans from winning Group C. After losing at the semi-final stage of Euro 2016, Germany will be keen to put that to the back of their minds by qualifying for the 2018 World Cup with ease.
The bookies also can't see anyone troubling them in their quest. Low's side are priced at odds of just 1/10 with William Hill to finish in first place. The real battle in Group C is undoubtedly for second place and a possible play-off birth.
After a stunning Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, Northern Ireland followed that up by reaching the knockout stages in France. O'Neill has turned Norn Iron into a real solid outfit these days, and their deserved 0-0 draw at the Generali Arena speaks volumes of how far they have come.
The Green and Whites will fancy their chances of going anywhere in this group and picking up a positive result. The fact they have already taken points away from home against the Czechs puts them in a good position. With a home game against San Marino up next, Northern Ireland have the chance to get their first three points on the board.
We can see O'Neill's troops building on their excellent European campaign by finishing in the top two of Group C. BetVictor are offering the very tempting odds of 3/1 for NI to do so, a bet we predict will pay off handsomely.
However, the bookies fancy the Czechs and the Norwegians ahead of Northern Ireland. Karel Jarolim's Czech Republic are the second favourites behind Germany to finish in the top two, with BetVictor offering odds of 6/5. Meanwhile, the same betting site have Norway at longer odds of 2/1.
Hogmo's side failed to qualify for Euro 2016, whilst the Czechs had a very disappointing Euros in France. Despite going into the competition with real optimism, Czech Republic finished bottom of Group D with just one point to their name.
Northern Ireland travel to Oslo for their final game of the group in October next year. Of course, everything may be all done and dusted by then, but then again, it may not be. Regardless, we still believe there's real value is in Norn Iron's 3/1 to finish in the top two.
With still everything to play for in World Cup Qualification Group C, we should be in for a cracking campaign. Needless to say, the Germans look untouchable, but like we said, second place is well and truly up for grabs, with Northern Ireland being our top betting tip.Google+