Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
Wales really need to win in Baku in they are to have any chance of automatically advancing from the Euro qualifiers on Saturday. Hosts Azerbaijan sit rock bottom of Group E, but Eastern Europe is usually a tough place for any team to go. Ryan Giggs’ side have an indifferent record of two wins, as many draws and defeats in the pool.
This looks an away banker for Wales, just don’t expect them to fill their boots. Going into the play-offs is a far more likely end to the group for the Dragons than anything else, for all there’s still a home game with high-flying Hungary to come.
They are the team Wales need to catch as things stand with pool leaders Croatia certain to qualify for the Euros if they beat Slovakia. Giggs has steered the Dragons to consecutive draws against teams above them, but FIFA’s world rankings have them nearly 90 places above Azerbaijan.
Not even home advantage is going to be enough to bridge that gap. Wales are firmly expected to win this game and everything points to the visitors coming away with three points to keep their hopes of directly reaching the Euro 2020 finals alive.
Azerbaijan vs Wales Prediction: Azerbaijan 0-1 Wales
After six Euro qualifiers, Wales have on average scored a goal per game. Each of their last three meetings with Azerbaijan has finished with a one-goal margin in favour of the Dragons. That includes the previous encounter in Cardiff back in September. This is a long trip to the edge of Europe. As Azerbaijan have drawn a blank in recent internationals against Hungary, Lithuania and Kosovo during the last 12 months, the Welsh defence should stand firm. Their superior quality in midfield and attack is sufficient to see them not only creating opening in Baku but finding the net in another tight game that has become a hallmark of Giggs’ reign as Dragons boss. A 0-1 result in Azerbaijan is thus our recommendation.
Our recommended tip: Total Wales goals 1
As noted above, Wales have scored on average a goal per game during Euro 2020 qualifying so far. Even though this is their easiest away match on paper, it’s an awfully long way for the Dragons to go. Travelling the length of Europe for a game is a leveller to some extent. Giggs has to make a decision over Wales’ star player Gareth Bale. Club side Real Madrid have used him just once in the last month and that’s bound to have made him rusty. Bearing that in mind, it’s well worth backing the Dragons just to score once here. Odds of 2/1 with Coral say Wales total goals will be exactly one.
In seven previous encounters with Azerbaijan, Wales have never lost (W6, D1). They have won to nil on five occasions starting with doing so home and away in qualifying for Euro 2004. The sole draw in this fixture came in a 2006 World Cup qualifier in Baku. Since then, the Dragons have won four in a row. September’s 2-1 home victory was the first time Wales and Azerbaijan have met for a decade. With the hosts still searching for a victory and Dragons boss Giggs scoring on many occasions as a player against them, the away team are the ones to be on.
Top 3 Euro Qualifiers Bookies
Players to watch: Ramil Sheydayev & Aaron Ramsey
Azerbaijan: Ramil Sheydayev and Tamil Khalilzade
Dynamo Moscow striker Ramil Sheydayev may be yet to score for the Russian Premier League outfit, but has been on target for his country three times this year. That makes him one of the chief threats posed by Azerbaijan, alongside left wingback Tamil Khalilzade. The latter’s attacking instincts has seen him score twice in the last two months on international duty. Both Khalilzade and Sheydayev are players to keep an eye for Azerbaijan in this game.
Wales: Aaron Ramsey
With Bale lacking sharpness, Wales can rely on Aaron Ramsey who joined Juventus this summer. Arsenal are really missing him in midfield and he’s already scored for the Old Lady in both Serie A and the Champions League. Ramsey also has a fine record of finding the net in Eastern Europe. Among his 14 international goals, he’s been on target in Macedonia, Serbia and Moldova. That makes him a threat for Wales that Azerbaijan can’t afford to ignore. Ramsey brings a winning mentality from dominant Italy force Juve who have picked up under Maurizio Sarri right where the Turin titans left off with previous coaches Max Allegri and Antonio Conte.