There are a number of standout fixtures across what UEFA have labelled Matchday Three (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) in the UEFA Nations League.
Here, we’ve identified five fixtures where there’s a seemingly predictable outcome, including anytime goalscorers, match results and both teams to score markets, plus where to find the best odds on each.
In a nutshell, the Nations League is a new international league system with promotion and relegation, a finals tournament with a trophy, plus an alternative route to Euro 2020.
Designed to improve the quality and standing of international football among UEFA’s 55 members, it was introduced in September 2018 to replace widespread international friendlies, whereby four divisions (A-D) of teams exist based on their coefficient standing.
League A includes Europe’s top-ranked sides while League D involves the lowest, but nations have the capacity to be promoted – or indeed relegated – to other divisions within the four tiers.
The Group winners from Leagues B, C and D will gain promotion, while those who finish bottom of A, B and C will be relegated.
The four group winners of League A will contest the finals, to be held in June 2019, consisting of two semi-finals, a third-place play-off and the final, which will determine the Nations League winners.
The Nations League also offers up a second chance for teams to qualify for the European Championships.
Of the 16 group winners, or the next best placed teams, those who have not already qualified for Euro 2020 via the conventional qualifying campaign will advance to the play-offs to compete for the final four places at the tournament.
Robert Lewandowski is set to win his 100th cap for his nation as Poland look to build on their opening result, a 1-1 draw in Italy. The 30-year-old striker has started his club campaign in fine fashion, netting eight goals in 10 outings in all competitions.
The Bayern Munich marksman set up Piotr Ziekinski’s goal in Bologna but will be particularly keen to go one better in Poland’s first home game in the Nations League to mark his century of appearances with a goal. He’s available at a very healthy 11/10 with Bet365 to score at any stage.
In-form Belgium are looking for a 17th win in their last 19 competitive fixtures, and few will be betting against them when they take on Switzerland at home on Friday. Romelu Lukaku’s club form may leave a lot to be desired, but the Manchester United striker is in fine form for his country.
He scored wither side of half time – and won his side a penalty which Eden Hazard dispatched – in Belgium’s 3-0 win over Iceland last time out.
It’s clear Lukaku plays with less pressure on his shoulders when representing his country, and odds of 10/11 with BetVictor about him scoring at any stage against the Swiss should pay dividends.
In what will be billed as a repeat of July’s World Cup semi-final, both sides come into this on the back of a defeat to Spain in Group A4, though Croatia’s 6-0 reverse last month is the more alarming of the two.
England followed up their 2-1 loss to Luis Enrique’s side with a 1-0 win over Switzerland, restoring some confidence, and they may sense blood against the Croats, who are without a win since defeating the Three Lions in the last four in Russia.
But as hosts, Croatia are the favourites, and although they’re a nation still hurting from World Cup final heartache, they still boast bags of quality, so a draw looks the best value at Betway’s 11/5.
The Republic of Ireland are suffering their biggest crisis yet under the stewardship of Martin O’Neill. Not only are the Irish struggling for form, they’re also struggling to get a new generation of eligible players to commit to the cause.
After being on the end of a 4-1 hiding from Wales in their opening fixture, the last thing they need is another visit from Denmark, who thumped them 5-1 in Dublin almost a year ago in the World Cup playoffs.
It might not be such a wide margin this time around, but the Danes should win fairly comfortably again – take the 8/5 on an away win with Betway.
Having been in decline for a few years now, Netherlands look somewhat out of place in Group A1, which also houses current world champions France and 2014 World Cup winners Germany. They did, however, gain some credibility when losing 2-1 to France in the group opener.
In their first home game of the Nations League, they’ll look to end a winless run of five against Germany (D3, L2), but Joachim Löw’s side will be eager to get a first win on the board having been held in their first game against France. Back Germany to win in Amsterdam at 21/20 with Ladbrokes.
If the opening two official matchdays are anything to go by, most major nations are taking the tournament more seriously than standard international friendlies, and that’s good news for bettors.
With managers seemingly willing to field something close to their strongest starting XI, more so than they would do in a standard international friendly anyway, it should make outcomes easier to predict.
For example, last time out, a full-strength Germany side against a full-strength France team produced a predictable outcome – a draw. However, before placing a bet on the matches involving the highest ranked teams, it might be best to wait until team news drops half an hour before kick-off.
A five-fold on all our selections pays out over 55/1 with Bet365.
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