It looks like it’s going to be a race between Belgium and England in League A’s Group 2 and it may well come down to the result from when the pair face each other in October. That is, of course, if they both win their next fixtures.
We’ll be taking a look at Belgium’s match-up against Iceland, while in Group 3 France and Portugal both got off to a good start and will face Croatia and Sweden – who both lost their opening matches.
Belgium kept yet another clean Sheet against Denmark over the weekend, meaning they’ve kept their opponents scoreless in eight out of their 10 most recent fixtures. It’s an incredibly impressive stat on the international stage and this is a team managed by Roberto Martinez – not known for his defensive solidity in the Premier League. He’s got an incredibly good record with Belgium; they’ve lost just three times under his 44-game reign and that stat isn’t likely to increase in facing Iceland.
Belgium have not lost at home since a friendly international against Spain in 2016, which was well over 20 games ago. Looking at the odds there’s very few backing the Icelanders here but we can squeeze some value out of that clean sheet record. The sides met twice in 2018 and on both occasions Belgium kept them scoreless – with such a great record of clean sheets, we’re recommending Belgium to Win to Nil.
France, like Belgium, come into this match as heavy favourites. Croatia are such a basketcase of a team; they have the players and the talent but they just cannot seem to gel properly. This had previously been put down to club rivalry between Croatian league sides and while most of the players now play abroad in ‘bigger’ leagues, many began their careers for some of the ‘bigger’ Croatian sides. And as we all know in football – old habits die hard.
It’s down to manager Zlatko Dalic to bring this side together as a team but he’s been three years in the job now and while results have been good at tournaments, this is after all a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final. They’ve been underwhelming in matches since that final, losing to Hungary and Tunisia in 2019 and only drawing with Wales and Azerbaijan.
Enough of the history lesson. France are in flying form – they’re unbeaten in their last 15 home matches, winning 13 of them with 10 of them seeing over 2.5 goals. Croatia’s away form isn’t good, they’ve won just one of their last 10, drawing four and losing five. The one bright side is that they scored in all but one of those matches and with France not exactly having the best clean sheet record at home we think they’ll get one again. France should win though so we’re backing France to Win & BTTS at pretty decent odds.
Sweden have a mighty record at home but it must be said that they don’t often come up against teams of the caliber of Portugal. Over the last two years they’ve beaten the likes of Kosovo, Moldova and the Faroe Islands but drew with Norway, Iceland and Spain, losing to Finland and then France last Saturday.
Portugal are enjoying a fine run of form. They’ve lost just one of their last 10 fixtures, winning eight and drawing one. On their travels things aren’t as good but are still impressive, winning five, drawing three and losing two of their 10 previous away matches.
France kept Sweden scoreless on Saturday, something most teams don’t often achieve and Portugal – while a great team – aren’t known for their defensive strengths. Indeed, over their 10 most recent away matches they only kept three clean sheets. We think we’re looking at both teams getting on the scoresheet here so we’re backing Both Teams to Score.
Put these three picks into a Treble and you’ll get odds of around 10/1 with Paddy Power.
Nations League tip summary – Tuesday
*The odds are always bang up to date on our snazzy widgets
More Nations League tips
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- James McCarthy must produce more in an Ireland shirt, we need him! – Alan Cawley
- Luis Suarez: ‘I’d bite yer hand off for Juventus move’