Nations League Tips: Wednesday 14th October
We landed another profit this past week of £22, which was a nice return to form after a disappointing week the week before, so buoyed with that success, which came courtesy of Germany’s win over Ukraine and the Welsh and Republic of Ireland teams playing out a draw, I am hopeful of landing another profit in midweek with this next selection of Nations League games.
I have to be brutally honest and say that I am not the biggest fan of Nations League football and this International week, coming after an incredible week of Premier League action, has been something of an unwanted intrusion for many. However, profit is never to be sniffed at so with a second group of games on Tuesday and Wednesday, I have put together this set of tips.
There’s a couple of interesting games on Tuesday, notably Germany’s game with Switzerland and Spain’s match up away to the Ukraine, but for British fans their eyes will be on the games taking place on Wednesday night with all the home nations, plus the Republic of Ireland involved in key games.
The Republic head to Finland in what is a must win game for them while in the same group Wales will be hoping to maintain their unbeaten form and top position in the group in their trip to Bulgaria. Scotland’s recent improved form will be tested at home to the Czech Republic where a win could be enough for the Scots to take a massive hold of their group.
England face Denmark having taken over top spot in their group from Belgium and they will be hoping Iceland can do them a big favour against the Belgians in Reykjavik on the same night.
Here are my tips for four of those crucial Nations League games this week.
Nations League Football Tips: Wednesday 14th October
After Finland beat the Republic in Dublin back in September, this game has become a must-win game for the Irish who are yet to register a win in the Nations League so far this campaign. With Wales at the top of the group with seven points, nothing less than a win here will be enough for the Irish, especially with the Finns in second position in the table.
That game in Dublin was a hard fought affair of few chances but the one crucial factor was that the Finnish team took their best chance when it came. Ireland have been guilty of not doing that in recent times and it has cost them, most notably in their recent Euro 2020 Play-off semifinal defeat to Slovakia, when a late Connor Hourihane miss saw them lose out eventually on penalties.
There was very little between the two teams when they met in Dublin last month and in truth I can’t see anything other than a very tight and nervy game here. I think Ireland will score, but I think so will the Finns and as such a 1-1 draw seems to be the best selection here.
Somewhat oddly, the last two games between these two teams have finished 4-2 to France and includes the 2018 World Cup Final in Moscow, when the French won their second title defeating the Croatian team that had beaten England in the semifinal very comfortably.
Croatia’s record against France is woeful and they have never beaten Les Bleus in the seven games between the teams, only managing a couple of draws in that time. In truth, a nervy win over Sweden last time out means that I don’t really see this Croatia team causing the French a huge amount of problems here either.
That said, I thought France were very poor last time out when drawing 0-0 with Portugal in Paris. They lacked spark from midfield against the well-marshalled Portuguese but I think Croatia will be more attacking and I think that plays to France’s strengths on the counter attack and that I think will be the key element of this game.
I do think Croatia will score but I can’t see them picking anything up from this game as I am backing France to land the win, although I don’t see this being a third 4-2 win for the French in a row.
I have to say I thought England were very fortunate against Belgium at the weekend. They could and perhaps should have been two goals down before they got their somewhat fortunate penalty leveller and while they improved a great deal after the break, it was a fortunate deflection that handed them a win against the World Number 1 Belgium side.
Denmark meanwhile were trouncing Iceland 3-0 and the Danes know a win here could put them in real contention in this group while severely denting England’s hopes too. However, their record at Wembley isn’t the best, with just one win there back in 1983.
England played out a 0-0 with the Danes in Copenhagen and perhaps will feel they should have won the game after Harry Kane had an early goal ruled out wrongly for offside. They’ll have a chance to put that right here and they’ll also be cheering on the Iceland side hoping they can take something off Belgium in the other clash in this group.
There are seldom too many goals when these two teams clash and as such, I fancy this could be a 1-0 win for England and a nervy night all told. So I have decided to back England to win to nil as I feel this is the best option available.
A look at how the fixtures in League A Group 1 have turned out, with three draws in the six matches so far and nobody having a better goal difference than +1 or worse one than -1 suggests that the teams in this group are very well matched and that separating them will be difficult.
The Italians are something of a bogey team for the Dutch and they have a good record against their Northern European rivals. However, Italy are still very much an emerging team under Roberto Mancini and in truth I don’t see a huge amount of opportunity for them to score against a solid Dutch defence here.
Similarly though, the Dutch attack has been somewhat toothless of late, with one goal in their last four games, and in what has proven to be a very tricky group, The Dutch’s home defeat to Italy last month could well be a pivotal result here and it means that Italy may not need to win this game.
In fact, the history of this game along with how the group has panned out in general means that I can’t really see anything other than the points being shared here and given how hard goals have been to come by in the group, I have selected the draw to give me more flexibility here.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.