RECOMMNENDED NATIONS LEAGUE BETS
|England to win the Nations League Finals||7/4||William Hill|
The unusual format may have been a little difficult to understand at first, but there is no doubt that the inaugural edition of the UEFA Nations League has been a major success. Every nation on the continent has benefited from playing competitive games against teams of similar quality, while neutrals have been provided with a clear upgrade on the meaningless friendlies which cluttered up the old international calendar. Everyone has gained from the new arrangement.
The 2018/19 season will reach a conclusion this week, with four teams vying for the maiden Nations League title. Portugal, who amassed eight points from a possible 12 in a group featuring Italy and Poland, will host the mini-tournament, with Sunday’s final set to be played at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao. The Portuguese will be joined by the Netherlands, surprise winners of Group 1 ahead of France and Germany, the last two World Cup winners; England, who saw off Spain and Croatia to finish top of their segment; and Switzerland, who got the better of Belgium and Iceland to book their spot at the four-team competition.
UEFA Nations League 2019 Winner Odds
Home advantage is unlikely to play as big a role as it sometimes does in longer tournaments, so Portugal - 15/8 favourites with Bet365 for the tournament - will probably not gain too much of a boost by playing on home soil. Fernando Santos’ side deserve to be considered favourites in their semi-final against Switzerland, although the fact that Portugal often look more comfortable when they are able to play reactively and on the back foot could cause them a few problems against a Switzerland team who will be keen to employ a similar approach of keeping things tight at the back and attacking in transition.
Portugal A Good Bet to Progress
Portugal should find a way through in the end, with an attack spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo and ably supported by Goncalo Guedes, Rafa Silva and the brilliant Bernardo Silva likely to prove too strong for the Swiss. Goals could be in short supply, though, so backing a triumph for Santos’ charges and fewer than 2.5 goals in total would be a wise move – that wager is available at 5/2 with Coral. That outcome would send the reigning European champions through to the final, where England and the Netherlands will both hope to be providing the opposition.
These two teams both have a fresh and vibrant feel to them, with England’s rejuvenation beginning at the 2018 World Cup and the Dutch’s coming after the tournament they failed to qualify for. Gareth Southgate’s men won in Amsterdam in a friendly prior to last summer’s competition, but the Netherlands have come on leaps and bounds since then; Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong have been two of the most talked-about footballers in Europe this season, while Virgil van Dijk has arguably risen to the very top of the list of present-day world-class centre-backs. Memphis Depay still blows hot and cold but is capable of brilliance on his day, while Donny van de Beek and Georginio Wijnaldum are excellent midfield players.
Back England to Go All the Way
England have plenty of talent of their own, with Jadon Sancho’s emergence at Borussia Dortmund this term adding another exciting option to an attack which already featured the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford. One concern for Southgate is the fact that Kane, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dele Alli, Joe Gomez, Danny Rose and Eric Dier were all involved in Saturday’s Champions League final, but the three-week gap before that game at least allowed those involved a substantial period of rest before the Madrid showpiece. This should be the more entertaining of the two semi-finals; back England to edge a contest featuring goals for both teams which you can get at 19/5 with Bet Victor.
There is plenty of reason to believe that the Three Lions will go all the way to the trophy too. Some question marks remain about the team’s defensive robustness, but the combination of dynamism, physicality and technical skills that have aided English club sides in European competition this season could also work to the benefit of Southgate’s side. If England are able to play at a high tempo in the Nations League Finals, each of the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland would struggle to contain them. There is a feel-good factor around the national team at present, and that could culminate in tangible success this week.