As the World Cup hurtles toward us in just two months’ time, the final international break beforehand sees the Nations League conclude, with two Matchdays to come in the next week.
As MD5 kicks off on Thursday, Group A4 takes centre stage as leaders The Netherlands travel to Poland. With the hosts holding Oranje 2-2 in MD3, Poland will be keen to almost guarantee avoiding relegation with a game to spare; even a point – results pending elsewhere – should achieve that aim.
Poland’s attack is in fine fettle. Not only with the continued prolific form of Robert Lewandowski in his new Catalan surroundings, but Arkadiusz Milik for Juventus also. This looks a tricky test for the unbeaten Dutch but remarkably, Poland have not beaten Holland since 1979. Time to hedge? Doubts remain whether the duo can play together, but if they start here, a double acca build for both Milik and Lewandowski to score looks well worth a look at 8/1 with SkyBet, 10Bet and SportNation.
On the results side, given the host’s history we may be considering backing another draw at 52/19 with VBet, and even a repeat 2-2 scoreline from MD1 at a fairly steep 14/1 with William Hill.
Belgium and Wales lock horns at the same time that evening, with the Red Devils still not giving up hope of top spot. Rob Page’s men earned a point in the reverse fixture during MD3 but as the Welsh sit bottom with just a point, getting any result here looks tough. Belgium will, however, be without talisman Romelu Lukaku, so the onus may fall at the feet of Kevin De Bruyne. In scintillating form for Manchester City – somewhat disguised in the wake of Erling Haaland’s explosive start to life in the same Club colours – a De Bruyne goal can treble your stake at 2/1 with LiveScoreBet, or, for the midfield to net first a boosted 6/1 price with Betway awaits.
In Group A1 also on Thursday, France find themselves in a precarious position sitting bottom, two points off third spot and Austria, their opponents here. Still flushed with riches in attack but without Karim Benzema, having fallen to both their other Group opponents, Austria might not be such a far-fetched punt. Indeed, a 15/2 shot for an Austrian win with Coral shouldn’t be dismissed. Playing things a bit safer, a BTTS bet at 11/10 with BetUK.com is surely not foolhardy.
On Friday night meanwhile, Group A3 takes the baton with England staring down a similar barrel to that of the French and a first drop-down to Group B. With a three-point deficit on Italy, the Three Lions travel to Lombardy to face the Azzurri at San Siro for the first time. Without a win in four, the chance for revenge in the manner Italy beat England in their own back yard in the Euro 2020 final 14 months back, glows and now in full-season mode a more competitive Three Lions should be present here. Given Roberto Mancini’s men have also been distinctly average since that night at Wembley, England’s odds of 18/11 with SBK to pick up a famous victory in Milan, are appealing.
At the opposite end of the table, Germany welcome surprise package Hungary with the opportunity to leapfrog into top spot in the table. But will they? The Mighty Magyars are in the best form for some considerable time and having thrashed England at Molineux last time out, will be carrying confidence to Lower Saxony. A Draw no Bet flutter at 9/1 with SkyBet could be rewarded.
Finally, outside of the top tier, Saturday night’s second Celtic Group B1 clash between Scotland and the Republic of Ireland at Hampden Park stands out. After beating Ukraine on Wednesday night, the buoyant Scots now sit top but with the reverse fixture to come next Tuesday, three points are vital here. Seeking to remedy their 3-0 loss in Dublin also, our money will be on Steve Clarke’s men at 11/10 with QuinnBet.