It’s that time of the year once again, when European teams are trying to secure a place at the most important continental tournament.
We know the names of most of the participants, but eight of them are still in the race and the winners will only be decided next week.
Action starts on Thursday and continues on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but the first leg is usually the most important.
On Thursday, Norway takes on Hungary and it has home pitch advantage which should prove very important given past performance. Playing on artificial grass has always served well the Norwegian football is, had a hard time winning games away from home.
This time they can consider themselves lucky to play against a rather mediocre opponent that was lucky to make it this far.
The very next day, Bosnia and Herzegovina, will make another attempt at setting an important milestone for the tiny country.
After securing passage to the World Cup and struggling in the group stage, they hope to qualify for the Euro 2016 for the first time in history. It is not going to be easy but they are to stand a chance, then they desperately need to win the first match.
Traveling to the Republic of Ireland on the back of a narrow margin win could be sufficient, so this is the outcome expected by most punters.
Ukraine was secretly hoping to advance straight from the group stage, but they need a win in front of their fans when taking on the former world champions.
Spain proved to be a tough nut to crack and now Ukraine its feet Slovenia and hope that the second leg will not bring an unfortunate turn of events. At the time of writing, bookies consider them clear favorites and this appears to be the most imbalanced game of the playoffs.
At the opposite end of the spectrum we have the fixture between Sweden and Denmark, a match that looks like a coin flip. Sweden will play at home first and with Ibrahimovic on the pitch and in great form, they should be given the respect they deserve. Having said this, the opponents are known to defend brilliantly when they can afford to settle for one point, so risk-averse punters need to think twice before placing a high-stakes wager on the home side to prevail.