The road to World Cup 2006 reaches the halfway mark this week, with two rounds of matches in the European qualifying campaign, and England should take a giant step towards Germany by scoring back-to-back wins. Having organised their fixtures cleverly, England have an outstanding chance of increasing their stranglehold on group six with home wins over Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan. Under Sven Goran Eriksson, England have won six out of eight competitive home games (with two draws) and have scored twice on each occasion. They look far too strong for either of this week's opponents, though extremely short odds mean they are not a betting proposition. Azerbaijan and Northern Ireland couldn't score against each other when they met last October, so they hardly seem likely to breach England's defence. A 2-0 scoreline looks a decent bet for both matches. As usual in international matches, good-value bets are in short supply and the advice is to reduce stakes. The lack of a competitive element is clear from the fact that this week's most closely matched fixture - according to the official Fifa world rankings - is tonight's Romania v Holland clash. The hosts are ranked 29, with Holland seventh on the list. Holland are one of the more vulnerable big teams. They are top of group one on goal difference from Romania, who have played one game more, but the hosts are unbeaten in their past nine home internationals and should be well prepared under coach Victor Piturca. He is back for a second spell in charge. Holland, who could only draw in Macedonia earlier in the campaign, are too short for the win and should be opposed on the handicap. The other appealing handicap bet from tonight's fixtures is on Bulgaria, who host Sweden. The teams are separated by 26 places in the Fifa rankings and Sweden won 5-0 when they met at Euro 2004, but Bulgaria are unbeaten in 11 home internationals and should prove harder to beat this time. The handicap is set at zero and Bulgaria look the side to be on. Estonia look more closely matched with Slovakia than the odds suggest and appear fairly safe on the handicap HAD, though they don't represent great value. The best-value away options tonight are Ireland, who have a good chance in Israel if they can reproduce the form from last October's goalless draw in France, and Greece. The European champions started the campaign with a surprise defeat in Albania but their recent form has been much better and they should be too strong for Georgia. Greece are the pick from that pair of matches. Among the best midweek bets are Turkey, who can inflict a second home defeat on Georgia. France can do the same to Israel, Norway should win in Moldova and Romania look fairly solid for their visit to Macedonia. Russia, who should make no mistake against Liechtenstein tonight, will be available at more backable odds for their midweek away game in Estonia. Russia won the reverse fixture 4-0 in November and should complete a six-point haul from this pair of matches. Spain have failed twice on the road already in this campaign and will not relish their midweek trip to Serbia, who started to come good towards the end of Euro 2004 qualifying (including a home 1-1 with Italy) and have carried that form into this campaign. Spain are still favoured, though they don't look the safest of bets. Portugal, having slipped up in Liechtenstein, have put pressure on themselves for their midweek game in Slovakia. The hosts are only three points behind Portugal, with a game in hand, but the group three leaders look to have plenty in hand as long as they aren't complacent. Bulgaria will be a value chance to win their midweek game in Hungary, while Wales should score at least one win in their double-header with Austria. Even without Robbie Savage, the Welsh look a decent bet in tonight's home game. Best homes: Wales. Best aways: Greece, Ireland, Russia (v Estonia), Turkey, Portugal, Norway, Romania, Bulgaria, France, Spain. High goals: Czech Republic v Finland, Turkey v Albania. Low goals: Bulgaria v Sweden, Israel v Ireland, Romania v Netherlands.