The Rollover Pick 8 returns on Friday evening as the 2020 UEFA Nations League gets underway. There are some tricky games to navigate but, with sufficient coverage, I’m confident we can go deep into the pool. Check out my UEFA Nations League betting tips and join my Syndicate.
UEFA Nations League betting tips
Slovakia vs. Czech Republic
A tricky openening leg for our UEFA Nations League betting tips. Jaroslav Šilhavý’s Czech Republic will be deemed marginal favourites for this but they are an unpredictable side. In their last six games they’ve won three and lost three, beating England and losing to Northern Ireland. So on their day you just don’t know which version of this side will show up.
Slovakia are similarly tough to analyse and won, drew and lost two apiece from their previous six. In honesty this one could go either way but I’d give the marginal edge to the away side. However, because their form has been patchy I’ll also include the draw.
Selections: Draw & Czech Republic
Romania vs. Northern Ireland
37th in the world rankings host 36th, suggesting that there isn’t a great deal between these two.
Northern Ireland have won two, drawn one and lost three of their last six encounters. However, when you consider that four of those games came against Germany and the Netherlands it’s not the worst form imaginable. That they managed a stalemate in one of the Netherlands fixtures is certainly a string to their bow.
Romania haven’t won in their last three, with defeats to Spain and Sweden as well as a home draw against Norway. There is more to be impressed about from Northern Ireland’s recent form and, without fans in attendance, the Arena Nationala in Bucharest won’t seem nearly as daunting.
It really could go any way though and I’d expect the units to be relatively evenly split so I’m covering all three options.
Selections: Romania & Draw & Northern Ireland
Norway vs. Austria
For Austria, a meaningless loss to Latvia in their most recent game, a Euro 2020 dead rubber, ended a solid run of seven matches without defeat. They won six of them and the only blemish was a hugely impressive away draw against Poland.
Norway are on an unbeaten run of nine games but have drawn five of them, with the four wins coming against minnows Faroe Island and Malta.
The Norwegians have no shortage of attacking options with Erling Haaland, Josh King and Alexander Sorloth all big threats but, nonetheless, I still fancy Austria here.
I have to admit that the number of games Norway draw does concern me though so I’ll include that as well as the away side.
Selection: Draw & Austria
Iceland vs. England
I the fourth leg of our UEFA Nations League betting tips, England finally have an opportunity to gain revenge for their embarrassing exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of Iceland.
It’s a very different Three Lions side that lined up on that day though, with Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Eric Dier likely the only players to have survived Gareth Southgate’s cull since. Sterling, in particular, was widely criticised for his performance that day but since then has transformed himself into one of the finest attacking players in world football.
Iceland haven’t lost in five and are no mugs but they haven’t met anyone in that period anywhere close to being as good as England who absolutely smashed Euro qualifying, averaging nearly five goals per game making them comfortably the highest scoring team on the continent.
England’s biggest struggle here could be finding the opener but, once that happens, the floodgates could open.
Cyprus vs. Montenegro
Montenegro recovered from their 7-0 shellacking at the hands of England to beat Belarus in November which hopefully exorcised a few demons.
There was no such luck for Cyprus who followed a 5-0 drubbing to Russia with a 2-1 reverse at home to Scotland before finally being eviscerated 6-1 by Belgium.
I don’t particularly rate Cyprus and think Montenegro are comfortably the better side here so will be taking them as my sole selection.
Sweden vs. France
The UEFA Nations League 2020 favourites travel to Solna to take on a Sweden side who were in good nick last year.
Of ten games played in 2019, Sweden won six, drew three and suffered a single, forgivable defeat away to Spain. However, they meet arguably the best side on the planet on Saturday and could come unstuck.
France simply have an embarrassment of riches throughout their squad but will clearly be spearheaded by the majestic Kylian Mbappe, who already has a World Cup to his name at the tender age of 21.
I’d expect France to win this but so will everyone else, so I’m going to include the draw and hope the impressive Swedes, who claimed a draw against Spain as well last year, can repeat the trick here.
Selections: Draw & France
Portugal vs. Croatia
A very tough game to predict between the inaugural UEFA Nations League and reigning European Champions, Portugal, and the 2018 World Cup runners up, Croatia.
Portugal are understandably favourites with Croatia undergoing something of a transitional period. Star names such as Dejan Lovren, Ivan Perisic, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic are all in their 30s now and arguably past their peaks. The Croatians will have to undergo something of a renewal but, as we’ve seen with England, it’s a gradual process.
Obviously Portugal have their own aging stars with Pepe, Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Moutino also well into their 30s. However, with the likes of Nelson Semedo, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix they retain plenty of young, world class talent.
Croatia are by no means a busted flush and can beat anyone on their day but draws against Wales and Azerbaijan last year in addition to defeats to Hungary and Tunisia makes me think they should come unstuck against the talent of Portugal who evidently like this competition.
Portugal to win and I’ll chuck in the draw as well.
Selections: Portugal & Draw
Denmark vs. Belgium
I’ll be brief. Denmark are a good-to-middling European side and not to be taken lightly.
However, Belgium are several levels above them and possess two of the finest players in the world in Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne. Chuck in one of the most in-form strikers in Europe in Romelu Lukaku and there’s no point pretending I’ll be backing anything else here.
For anyone who can successfully take them on, you’ll have the pool at your mercy. However, I can’t see it.
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