The UEFA Nations League’s group stage is over, and it has definitely brought with it many disappointments, surprises and revelations. A total of 55 teams had competed and now the competition moves to the semi-finals stage which is to take place in June next year. The four semi-finalists are- England, Portugal, Netherlands and Sweden.
From the conception of the UEFA Nations League, some have been sceptical about how worthwhile the tournament was. Many have raised the question of whether the competition was a successful creation or just a collection of hyped friendlies. However, looking at the competitiveness that has been displayed, we are of the opinion that it has in fact been successful. For example, a team like the Netherlands which had supposedly lost its place in international football, has upped the ante by beating the World Champions France by two goals.
This group was topped by the Oranje after they overpowered Germany and favourites France. The second match against the French was predicted to be an equal affair with both teams to score. However, this was not to be, as the French attack could not match up to the link up of play by the Dutch team. The Netherlands’ final game in the league against the Germans saw them come back after trailing by two goals to secure a draw and that too in the dying minutes of the fixture. Such a result is a break away from their previous performances which have been quite poor. Young and reliable players such as Mathijis De Ligt and Frenkie De Jong stepped up their game while players like Geoginio Wijaldum and Memphis Depay got back to form.
The Swiss had one of the most impressive comebacks in international football against a mighty Belgian side to secure the top place. In their final fixture against Belgium, they were down by two goals at the 20th minute; however, they ended winning the match 5-2. This match saw a stellar performance from the Swiss hero Seferovic who put three goals into the net. Despite the Belgians being clear favourites and having a much better team on paper, their defence collapsed in the hands of the Switzerland.
It was not surprising that Portugal grabbed the first place in this group. They were by far the best team in this group. Despite missing the presence of their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo against Italy, Andre Silva stepped up to help the Portuguese secure a victory. This game saw the Italians with an absence of a striker of quality. Their mid-field was also mediocre and their defence was not even close to the line-up that they had in the past. The odds for the next stage are highly in favour of the Portuguese and England at 11/2 and 9/1 respectively.
These odds are crucial if you want to make some smart bets on the tournament. Football betting, like any kind of sports betting requires knowing as much as possible about both the game and the players of any particular match. This way, any bet you make isn’t just a crap shoot but is a smart, strategic decision that should hopefully pay off.
It’s also crucial to know how sports betting works, before placing any money on a team. One can go here to check out how to bet on the UEFA Nations League but the fundamentals of any sort of sports bet are the same. Betting on the favourite to win is a smart and safe bet but putting your money on the underdog may be riskier but the rewards are often far higher. In this particular match the odds are closer than many so the payouts probably won’t be great but the risk of betting on either team is fairly small, with England bringing in slightly higher rewards and Portugal being just a bit safer.
It was without doubt that this group was the most exhilarating one as the teams were strongly contending to secure the top place in the group or had the possibility of relegation before the commencement of the final match day. Initially, the Spanish were the favourites after having beaten both England and Croatia. However, England’s second leg triumph with a 2-1 victory saw a change in group. Finally, England came out at the top after securing a 2-1 win against Croatia despite initially trailing by one goal. They are now definitely favourites to go on to win the competition. In the group stage Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford displayed impressive performances for England and this gives them hope, especially after the loss in the semi-finals in the World Cup.