“One of the most infamous hand balls of all time” is how Joe Jordan’s basketball-style play resulted in Scotland winning a penalty against Wales in a World Cup play-off at Anfield on 12th October 1977.
Exactly thirty five years to the day, Wales have an opportunity to avenge their 2-0 defeat when the teams meet in Cardiff on Friday with Chris Coleman’s charges installed as bet365’s marginal 8/5 favourites.
Scotland head to the Principality as Stan James’s 7/4 underdogs and there is a sense that the two teams may cancel each other out.
Accordingly, Paddy Power’s 9/4 posted about the stalemate cannot be discounted, nor can Skybet’s 10/11 for both teams to score. The same firm offers 11/2 against it finishing 1-1 as BetVictor.com rate the chances of Wales winning 1-0 as a 7/1 shot.
The countries first met in 1876, but it wasn’t until 1905 that Scotland lost for the first time. Apart from that one-off shoot-out in 1977 however, the pair have met five times in World Cup qualifiers, Scotland winning twice and Wales once.
The Scots have notched just a single goal in their two qualifying matches to date, but they remain unbeaten. Wales too have managed only a single strike in their two opening encounters, but each has ended in defeat – 2-0 at home against Belgium and a 6-1 humiliation in Serbia.
With neither side rattling in the goals, it’s probable that as the teams disappear for their half time cuppa, the scorers will remain untroubled. Punters who concur can get even money (William Hill) against the first half ending all square.
Stan James chalks 4/1 about both halves finishing on level terms and backers not expecting a hatful of goals can get 8/1 (bet365) against it ending 0-0.
Elsewhere, Ladbrokes post 6/4 against Scotland retaining a clean sheet, Paddy Power mark 23/10 in favour of the duel producing a penalty and for those anticipating a goalfest, bet365 post 10/11 about the game’s total goal minutes exceeding 105.
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