Cristiano Ronaldo has a point to prove, England go to battle without Raheem Sterling and more to look out for in the Euro 2020 qualifiers, by Jamie Pacheco...

Will one 'bad boy' replace another for England?

The big news ahead of England's game against Montenegro is that they'll be without Raheem Sterling...out of choice. The Man City winger got involved in an altercation in the team canteen with Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, a dispute that had carried over from Sunday's match between the two favourites for the Premier League title, and was subsequently made unavailable for Thursday's game by Gareth Southgate.
They had clashed in the latter stages of Sunday's match.
Sterling was deemed to have been the instigator with the pair having to be pulled apart by team-mates, with emotions still pretty raw less than 24 hours after the grudge match between the two at Anfield. So Sterling has been relieved of his duties ahead of Thursday's game, while Gomez remains available should he be selected.
In truth, it's probably not as big a deal as some sections of the media are making out. A story suggesting a major fall-out is of more interest than one about a united camp but that's not necessarily the case here.
England are almost certainly going to book their place at Euro 2020 this week, it's Sterling's first major case of indiscipline while on England duty and he's been excellent for his country over the past year or so, after a sluggish start to his international career. He'll almost certainly be recalled ahead of the next game.
It would be somewhat ironic if his place in the starting line-up was taken by James Maddison, himself warned about his future conduct after being pictured in a casino during the last international break when he was ruled out through injury. Maddison has been in tremendous form of late with his last three matches yielding two goals and an assist for Leicester. It's 12/5 he scores on his England debut while Gomez, somewhat less certain to start the match, is 5/1 to get booked.

Ronaldo's revenge

It's been a somewhat quiet last month for Cristiano Ronaldo. His last five matches have resulted in just one goal for him and he was subbed in each of his last two matches, something that had only happened twice in the course of the whole of last season. Apparently, he was carrying an injury but his reactions were both petulant and out of line with the Juventus culture when being hooked.

So he'll be keen to get back to scoring ways over the next week for his country. Not just as a way of adding to his absurd record of 95 international goals but also because anything other than two wins from their last two matches and Portugal could risk having to book their place at Euro 2020 via the Play-Offs (courtesy of their Nations League win).
It's 3/1 Ronaldo bites back by scoring a hat-trick against Lithuania on Thursday night.

Huge match in Bucharest

It may not be the single most glamorous match of the round but Romania v Sweden is arguably the most important.
With Spain unsurprisingly topping Group F, Friday's match is a huge one between the ever-resilient Swedes and a young and exciting Romanian side who impressed at the Under 21 European Championships this summer.
A win for Sweden and they're through to Euro 2020, a draw and it's all to play for, while a Romania win would change things a lot...but not completely...they still have to play Spain at home in the last match while Sweden have the far easier task of a tie against the Faroe Islands.
That's a bridge to cross when they come to it and all the Romanians will be thinking of is winning this one. It's 7/4 they do and with an outstanding home record of only losing to Spain over the past two years, it's a price that makes far more appeal than the 6/4 about Sweden.

Jorginho, prolific goalscorer?

When you think of Italy and Chelsea's Jorginho you think of a player successfully completing a mammoth amount of short passes every game, putting in a few tackles and being a wise head in whatever midfield he features in.
But how about Jorginho, the goalscorer? In 20 appearances this season, he's scored six goals, a record most strikers would just about take. Interestingly, every last one of them was from the penalty spot: two for country and four for club. And he may well add to that tally when Italy play Bosnia away on Friday.
It's 11/2 Jorginho scores, 15/8 on a penalty being awarded in the game and 12/1 that Italy miss one.

Pukki and Finland on the verge of history

Finland will never have a better chance than this one of qualifying for a European Championship. If they beat Liechtenstein on Friday- a 1/25 chance- they'll qualify with a game to spare, becoming the 34th different country to play at the Euros.
As ever, all eyes will be on Norwich's Teemu Pukki but the match hasn't come at a great time for him; he's now gone seven games for the Canaries without scoring, though he did get a brace against Armenia the last time he was on international duty. It's 15/8 he gets another as Finland make history on Friday evening.

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