France v Germany: France to win – 8/11
Normally this would be a heavyweight contest that people couldn’t wait to get their teeth into, but given recent events it could be the final time we see Joachim Low get a sniff of the sideline as Germany manager.
A shambolic World Cup exit and a 3-0 battering away to the Netherlands have heaped pressure on the man that has led the German national team since 2006 and the last thing he would have wanted in this situation was a tussle with the world champions.
France have been partying like it was 1998 since their epic march to winning the World Cup in July and they suffered a bit of a hangover last Thursday, needing an own goal and a penalty to rescue a very late draw against Iceland in a friendly.
Still, you’d expect Didier Deschamps to have his stars fully focused for this meeting in Paris and given Germany’s recent woes, we have to tip a victory for the home side at 8/11 in this one.
Belgium v Netherlands: Draw – 13/5
Sticking with the theme of European derbies, Belgium and the Netherlands are set to battle it out in Brussels on Tuesday.
Belgium are a bit like the classic Alex Ferguson line about City, although from a Netherlands point of view they’re the kind of noisy neighbours that blare soft rock (something classy like Nickelback or Daughtry) through the wall and then bang your door down looking to borrow your lawnmower.
The Dutch may be the outfit with a wealth of history behind them (a bit like Ferguson’s United of the team), but like Man City, Roberto Martinez’s charges are the team with all the recent success.
However, it was heartening to see an orange resurgence against Germany last time out and we’re expecting a repeat result of their last meeting two years ago. It was a 1-1 draw that day in Amsterdam and we’re tipping another draw here at 13/5.
Ukraine v Czech Republic: Ukraine to win – 4/6
Let’s face it, Ukraine as a country has seen its fair share of trouble over the last few years. However, it looks like they’ve finally got their act together on the football pitch under the leadership of the legendary Andriy Shevchenko.
Since taking over in July 2016 Shevchenko has won 11 of his 21 games in charge and has only seen his side fall to four defeats. They are also unbeaten in their last eight games, winning five of them and there’s no doubt the Champions League winner has made them a tough nut to crack.
The Czech Republic provide the opposition on Tuesday and they will come in with a new-found confidence after picking up a much-needed victory away to rivals Slovakia on Saturday. Their recent record before that game was awful though, and includes eye-popping losses to Russia (5-1) and Australia (4-0).
Ukraine won the most recent meeting between the pair 2-1 in September and with them scoring six victories in their last eight home games, we’re going to pick them to win this Nations League tie at 4/6.
* All odds correct at time of posting.