It’s the final international break of the season this week, which means a break from domestic football and the return of the Nations League. This time though, it is the deciding rounds of games, with Matchday’s 5 and 6 taking place Thursday to Saturday and Sunday to Tuesday, bringing an end to the opening round of Nations League matches.
It is going to be decision day for teams. Which teams, who finish top of their group, will earn promotion from Leagues B,C and D, which teams finishing bottom of their groups will be relegated from Leagues A, B and C? Which teams from League A will top their group to qualify for the semifinals of the tournament in June?
Given the nature of the tournament and how it is designed, in every group there is almost certainly something to play for in both the games this week, which should make for plenty of exciting action and few dead rubbers.
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Let’s now preview the games this week with the odds shown for the Full Time Result market at bet365 Sport.
*Odds shown were correct as of 12pm on Tuesday 13th November 2018.
Outlined below are our best bets for some of the bigger games on each night of action in the Nations League during Matchday Five.
Thursday 15th November
- Austria v Bosnia Herzegovina – Austria to win – Evens
Bosnia and Herzegovina have made a great start in this group, winning all three games so far, meaning Austria now need to beat them here by a better scoreline than Bosnia beat them by back in September (1-0), and then they need to beat Northern Ireland in their final game to pip Bosnia to winning the group and earning promotion to League A.
- Belgium v Iceland – Belgium to win/ Both teams to score- no – 8/11
Belgium are strong favourites to qualify from this group, which also includes Switzerland, and Iceland have already been confirmed as being relegated from the group, so they have little to play for other than pride. That said, the Icelanders held France to a draw in France recently, but Belgium have been the star team in Europe alongside the French in recent times and I think they’ll take another big step towards qualifying with a solid win to nil here.
- Croatia v Spain – Draw – 23/10
The penultimate game in England’s group is a crucial game in deciding what is up for grabs when England face Croatia at Wembley on Sunday. A win for Spain means the Spanish win the group and England and Croatia face a battle to avoid relegation to League B. A draw, and England can win the group if they beat Croatia on Sunday. A Croatia win, and a win for Croatia on Sunday would see Croatia win the group, with England being relegated. Alternatively, if Croatia win here, but lose to England, it would be England that qualify from the group. Spain won 6-0 when the teams met back in September but they’ll find Croatia much tougher on home soil and I fancy the draw here.
Friday 16th November
- Wales v Denmark – Wales to win – 31/20
This group in League B has been one of the most keenly contested, the Welsh and Republic of Ireland have both played three games with the Irish bottom of the table and likely to be relegated, while Wales top the group ahead of Denmark by a point. The Danes beat Wales 2-0 in Copenhagen, but with Christian Eriksen not quite 100% fit, I fancy the home side to get the win here which would see them clinch promotion from the group ahead of the Danes.
- Netherlands v France – Draw / Both Teams to Score – Yes – 10/3
The Netherlands produced a superb performance in their last game to defeat Germany 3-0, while France also inflicted a defeat on the Germans in the last game in the group, a 2-1 victory in Paris. That result leaves France on seven points, ahead of the Netherlands who have three points from their two games. A draw or win for France takes them through to the semifinals and that is the result I see them getting here against an improving Dutch side that look much stronger than the teams that failed to qualify for Euro 2016 or World Cup 2018.
Saturday 17th November
- Turkey v Sweden – Turkey to win – 13/10
The reverse fixture of this game produced one of the best Nations League games of the competition so far, with Sweden leading 2-0 at home at one point before Turkey came back to secure an incredible 3-2 victory, scoring two goals in the 88th and 92nd minutes of the game to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. That result will have hurt Sweden as they chase Russia at the top of the table and I can see the Turks repeating that kind of winning performance here against a somewhat ordinary Swedish side.
- Albania v Scotland – Scotland to win – 7/5
The Scots, like the Albanians, were defeated by Israel in the last set of games in this League C group and that has thrown the group wide open and means Scotland now desperately need something from this game ahead of their final game in the group with Israel on Tuesday. Scotland were poor against Israel, but Albania, who Scotland defeated 2-0 on home soil, have been poorer and as such, I am backing the Scots to get a rare away win here to bolster their promotion hopes.
- Italy v Portugal – Italy to win / Both teams to score – No – 12/5
Portugal defeated Italy in this group earlier in the campaign, and with Poland falling away somewhat, Portugal have won both the games they have played so far. Italy therefore need a result here and on home soil against a Portugal team without Cristiano Ronaldo, I fancy them to get it. Roberto Mancini has been slowly tinkering with his team to get them in the shape he wants and the signs are that he is starting to get it right. This will be close and defensive, but I think Italy may just sneak a 1-0 win.
Remember too, after these games, Matchday Six gets underway immediately on Sunday with England facing Croatia amongst the top games, you can still enjoy plenty of betting on all these games, both pre-match and In Play at bet365 Sport.