Due to issues regarding quarantine laws and the risk involved with mass travel, the international theatre of football war has been placed on the backburner for the past few months. However, that situation is set to change at the start of September as the UEFA Nations League 2020 commences. Although the Nations League took a while to seep into the consciousness of supporters across Europe, it is certainly a marked improvement on the litany of previous international friendlies. With a tweak in format in place – even if it was to stop Germany from having to play in League B this season, the competition is ready for its second run out. So here are our UEFA Nations League 2020 predictions for the four A groups.
UEFA Nations League 2020 predictions
Had these UEFA Nations League 2020 predictions been crafted a couple of weeks earlier, we would be waxing lyrical about the work that Ronald Koeman has carried out as manager of the Netherlands. Unfortunately for De Oranje, Koeman has returned to Barcelona, the club in which he won the 1992 European Cup with.
Whether Koeman has Lionel Messi among his newly acquired Barcelona ranks remains to be seen and similar levels on uncertainty now surround whether the Netherlands can repeat their previous feat of topping their mini-league and moving onto the final four.
If they fail to do so, Italy will be lying in wait and Roberto Mancini will be looking to bring the Azzurri out of the international doldrums. They may not have a squad of legendary names like in years gone by, but there are some exciting talents and they cannot be ruled out of table topping contention.
It is a statement that cannot be said for either Bosnia and Herzegovina or Poland and, although the latter will be able to call upon the fearsome Robert Lewandowski, the newly crowned Champions League winner might not be able to carry the Polish load all on his own.
4th. Bosnia and Herzegovina
It certainly hasn’t been the smoothest of build ups to the 2020 Nations League for England. As Harry Maguire executed his best “Brits abroad” impression, the Manchester United defender no longer finds himself in the initial Three Lions squad.
Whether his future at international level has come to a screeching halt, only manager Gareth Southgate will know and if there is one positive from the managers point of view, he can at least try some new partnerships at centre-back.
If England are to top the group again, they will have to get the better of recent international tournament foes and it is undoubtedly Belgium who will provide the biggest threat to any hopes of finishing top of the table.
Roberto Martinez’s men got the better of England on two separate occasions during the 2018 World Cup and will be confident of causing them more misery. With that said, one must not forget Iceland’s incredible win over England at Euro 2016 and they will also pose a substantial threat.
The other component of League A2 are Denmark and they will once again rely on the talents of Christian Eriksen, who after swapping North London for the San Siro will be keen to put the disappointment of a Europa League final defeat behind him.
Arguably the most open of the four A ranked groups and the toughest to call in our UEFA Nations League 2020 predictions. With inaugural winners Portugal among its ranks, the challenge is to repeat their previous efforts and win the competition for a second successive time.
Not only that, but these upcoming fixtures will serve as an ideal warm-up for their defence of the European Championship crown at the end of the season. However, their defence of the Nations League will not be easy, as the World Cup holders lay in wait.
France will be looking for an element of revenge at the same time and defeat in the Euro 2016 final, a loss that they were dealt on home soil, will still live in the memory of Didier Deschamps and some of his key players.
Of course, revenge will also be on the menu for Croatia and they will look to get the better of France, after being bested in the 2018 World Cup final. While with these three sides looking to settle a score or two, Sweden may have to brace themselves for the impact of relegation.
With Germany being dealt a huge lifeline in the shape of ‘restructuring’, they will want to make sure they now take full advantage and secure a place in the finals of the Nations League. Then again on recent form, that is easier said than done.
An embarrassment in the 2018 World Cup saw them sent packing before the knockout phase had begun and they were humbled in the previous iteration of the Nations League, as arch rivals the Netherlands consigned them to the bottom of the group.
However, the mood is more optimistic this time around and with a rather favourable draw being also handed to them, there is a belief that they can do much better this time. With that said, it will not be all plain sailing for Die Mannschaft.
That is because Spain have been placed in A4 and although they are a long way removed from their golden era of a decade or so ago, it is still a squad brimming with talented players in every position of the pitch.
Not to mention, previous table toppers Switzerland are in this group and although the previous Semi-finalists may struggle to repeat their efforts, they cannot be ruled out either and a winner will come from either of these three nations, most likely leaving Ukraine at the foot of the A4 table.
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