Thursday’s international football analysed and previewed

A mix of meaningless friendlies and very meaningful European Championship play-offs fill Thursday's international fixture list.

We preview all of the matches involving the home nations and offer free betting analysis.

Tonight's top tips

England v Ireland: Under 2.5 goals 19/20 & England to win to nil 17/20

Slovakia v Northern Ireland: Draw 15/8, 0-0 correct score 5/1

Serbia v Scotland: Draw 13/5

Wales v USA: Wales to win 13/10

England v Ireland, 8pm, Friendly

Shane Duffy has an unexpected place in Ireland's recent footballing history – the Celtic centre-back is the last Republic player to celebrate scoring a goal, 360 minutes and five matches ago.

Since that 93rd minute equaliser in Bulgaria, Ireland have failed to score against Slovakia, Wales and Finland twice.

England haven't exactly been goal-laden since then either, six goals in five matches, so the prospect of an Under 2.5 goals evening at Wembley looks high.

Last month's 1-0 defeat by Denmark means that three of England’s last five games have seen under 2.5 goals, and that's a near double your money 19/20 call with thepools.com.

With Gareth Southgate likely have one eye on Sunday’s more important clash in Belgium, also likely to rotate his striking resources, and with England’s last seven meetings with the Republic of Ireland all seeing under 2.5 goals that looks a generous price.

And while England are just 3/10 to win, and Ireland an understandably big 17/2, the better bet looks like England to win to nil which is a much more generous 17/20 call.

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Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, meanwhile, is likely to be given another opportunity to shine, after scoring within minutes of his full international debut against Wales last month.

After feeding off scraps at Everton in his last three outings and still managing a goal at Newcastle he's a very good 5/2 tip to open the scoring.

Northern Ireland v Slovakia, 7.45pm, Euro Champs play-off

Just four places separate these nations in the FIFA World rankings – and there is likely to be even less between them at Windsor Park tonight with a place at next summer's European Championship finals the prize.

Slovakia and Northern Ireland at this stage as a result of penalty shoot-out triumphs over Bosnia and Republic of Ireland respectively, and the prospect of another extra-time and penalties is high.

The draw is 15/8 and Draw half-time, Draw full-time 14/5 .

The odds on an Under 2.5 goals clash underline the cat and mouse nature of this tie, just 4/9 .

Ian Baraclough’s side have scored only five goals in their last nine games, Slovakia five in their last five.

Napoli playmaker Marek Hamsik has quality and is a 9/1 price to score first , with Parma’s Juraj Kucka 11/1 and Cologne's Ondrej Duda 15/2 also dangerous.

But the clever money has to be on goals being at a premium, with the 0-0 correct score 5/1 .

Serbia v Scotland, 7.45pm, Euro Champs play-off

Belgrade's Rajko Mitic Stadium is usually a riotous, colourful pageant of noise, flares and intensity.

Tonight it will be empty as Scotland aim to seal a place at a major finals for the first time for 22 years.

Serbia, with players like Ajax attacker Dusan Tadic, Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic and Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic Savic – the "trio fantastico" – are favourites at 7/10 with thepools.com .

But Scotland are riding the crest of an eight-match unbeaten wave, and have kept clean sheets in their last three.

Serbia drew 2-2 with Turkey last time out and were beaten at home by Hungary three days earlier.

So while the Serbs are favourites, Scotland's 17/4 for the win looks generous, the draw at 13/5 looks the most appealing option – while another Under 2.5 goals outcome at 6/10 looks a racing certainty.

Wales v USA, 7.45pm, friendly

Wales will be missing their head coach in Swansea, Rob Page taking over from Ryan Giggs, but the visitors will be missing any kind of rhythm or match sharpness, not having played together since February.

That makes the 13/10 with thepools.com on a home win the best bet.

Wales' recent form has been good, the only blip that 3-0 reverse to England, and while Aaron Ramsey is absent, Gareth Bale is available to add a gilding of class and penetration.

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