Northern Ireland host Bosnia, while former world champions England and Spain will lock horns
With international football’s latest tournament, the UEFA Nations League, now underway, there are some key clashes set up for this coming Saturday (8 September). Switzerland are set to welcome Iceland and Bosnia travel to Northern Ireland, while England and Spain – both former World Cup winners – will go head to head at Wembley Stadium.
First things first
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After an impressive run at Euro 2016, Northern Ireland may well look to use this UEFA Nations League to book their place at the 2020 edition of the continental competition. And they welcome Bosnia and Herzegovina to Windsor Park on Saturday night looking to get this campaign off to a flying start.
Northern Ireland did not make it to the World Cup earlier this summer following a play-off defeat to Switzerland. Bosnia, meanwhile, did not make it that far, after losing out to Greece in the qualifiers.
Therefore, both sides come into this clash with something to prove and as such will be desperate for the three points. As a result we may well see a cagey, low scoring affair won by the odd goal – the betting is very tight in this one to say the least.
And despite being away from home, it is Bosnia who come into the game as slight favourites to make a winning start to the UEFA Nations League. The visitors are at 2.75 while home side Northern Ireland are at 3.20 to take the points.
But home advantage could count for a lot in Belfast. A narrow, 1-0 win for Northern Ireland is priced at 6.50, while you can back under 2.5 goals in the game at just 1.57, according to Oddsshark.
Switzerland look to make bright start against Iceland
Two recent World Cup competitors, Switzerland and Iceland, will also meet this Saturday, in St. Gallen. With Belgium also in their group and only one team advancing to the semi-finals, a positive start would look to be absolutely imperative for both these countries.
Iceland managed just a single point in Russia from their three group games, while Switzerland advanced to the round of 16 where they were beaten 1-0 by Sweden. And having held Brazil to a 1-1 draw in Russia, Switzerland should be confident about taking all three points against the minnows of Iceland.
And it is indeed Switzerland who come into this clash as the red hot favourites to walk away triumphant. The Swiss are at just 1.70 to take the points, with visitors Iceland all the way out at 6.00 to pick up the points on the road – a draw is priced in the middle at 3.75.
But in terms of technical quality, it is certainly Switzerland who have the stronger squad, and a 2-1 win for the home side is priced competitively at 9.00, thereby offering close to a ten-fold return on any investment. In addition, you could potentially more than double your money by backing over 2.5 goals in the game at 2.40, while both teams to score is at 2.25.
England looking to build on World Cup momentum against Spain
And finally, England will be looking to build on their fine performance at the World Cup when they host Spain on Saturday. The Three Lions reached the semi-finals before becoming undone against Croatia, and coach Gareth Southgate is currently riding a wave of euphoria.
Spain, on the other hand, endured a World Cup to forget in Russia. The 2010 world champions had been tipped as one of the favourites coming into the tournament, only for coach Julen Lopetegui to be sacked on the eve of their first game after he told certain players of his intention to join Real Madrid.
Spain won just one of their group games before being eliminated by hosts Russia in the round of 16 on penalties. It is fair to say that the Spanish will be looking for a positive reaction on Saturday as they look to put the disastrous summer behind them.
Again, the betting is tight, but it is Spain who come in as slight favourites. The visitors are at 2.75 to take all three points, with England at 2.90 – a draw is priced highest at 3.20, with a 1-1 stalemate coming in at 6.00 – that means a US$5 bet would lead to a US#30 pay out.
UEFA Nations League fixtures:
Saturday, 8 September
(3.20) Northern Ireland x Bosnia (2.75); draw (2.90)
(1.083) Belarus x San Marino (34.00); draw (13.00)
(2.40) Finland x Hungary (3.50); draw (3.10)
(1.70) Switzerland x Iceland (6.00); draw (3.75)
(2.90) England x Spain (2.75); draw (3.20)
(4.75) Estonia x Greece (2.05); draw (3.10)
(2.37) Luxembourg x Moldova (3.70); draw (3.00)