The Netherlands have experienced something of a renaissance under new manager Ronald Koeman. Since the beginning of the Nations League they have convincingly beaten Germany and come close to drawing against World Champions France in Paris.
An encouraging draw away to Belgium in their October friendly also suggests that Dutch are beginning to turn a corner. A draw on Friday will effectively relegate the Germans into League B of the Nations League and would guarantee the French top spot in Group A1.
The Netherlands can keep their faint hopes of winning the group alive with a win over the French, but Les Bleus the French are particularly hard to beat, losing only twice since Euro 2016. They won the World Cup on the back of a number of workmanlike performances, namely those against Uruguay and Belgium, and there is a sense that Didier Dechamps does not get the best out of his squad in an attacking sense.
They are, however, excellent at getting results and with a draw ensuring they win the group, do not expect to see the French playing an expansive game of football on Friday night. A draw does suit both nations and it is hard to back against that happening.
Group C3 of the UEFA Nations League has been a lot tighter than the standings suggest. Norway and Bulgaria (on nine points each) appear to be in a two-horse race for top spot, while Slovenia and Cyprus are in a battle to avoid falling into the basement of the Nations League. However, every game so far has been close in the group and Norway’s 2-0 win over Cyprus in September represents the only time a game was won by more than one goal. So, expect another tight affair on Friday night.
Cyprus gave Bulgaria a fright in Sofia when the sides met in October, taking the lead before eventually falling to a 2-1 defeat. A draw or better for the Cypriots will go a long way to securing their status in League C of the Nations League for the next campaign. It is perfectly reasonable to suggest that the Cypriots will at least draw on Friday, but we’ll give them a goal lead on the handicap to help them on their way.
Wales are in a slightly unusual situation. They go into this game knowing that they are already safe from relegation from League B, but also knowing that anything other than a win will see Denmark top Group 4. Currently, Wales are two points ahead of the Danes in Group 4 but have played one game more.
With the Danes rounding off their Nations League campaign against a poor Ireland side on Monday, it is likely that they will secure three points and top the Group should Wales fail to win here.
Gareth Bale and Christian Eriksen both return to their respective squads after both missed games with Ireland in Dublin last month, and whoever has the bigger impact on Friday night will undoubtedly determine the direction of the group. (Eriksen was the difference when the sides met in September, scoring twice.)
A draw suits Denmark very well. It rules out any lingering prospect of relegation, moving them four clear of the Irish with a game to play, and gives them a free hit at winning the group on Monday night.
The Danes have proven to be exceptionally hard to beat since Age Hareide took over. They’ve only lost one game, a 3-0 friendly loss to Slovakia in September where the Danish players briefly decided international football wasn’t for them and Hareide was left with a number of Futsol players. So that one doesn’t really count.
It is hard to see the Danes being beaten on Friday night, even with Gareth Bale returning for the home side. Their form has been patchy and two wins over Ireland really doesn’t give a clear indication of current form.