Nations League Semi-Finals Spread Betting Preview

Nations League Semi-Finals Spread Betting Preview

England will bid to end 55 years of hurt when they head into battle in the UEFA Nations League this week. Gareth Southgate’s men fell agonisingly short in the 2018 World Cup as they lost in extra-time against Croatia in a tense semi-final clash. But they bounced back in emphatic fashion as a fine victory over Spain and sweet revenge against Croatia saw them top their Nations League group and surge into the semi-finals, where they face the Netherlands on Tuesday. If they can find a way past Virgil van Dijk and co they will take on either Portugal or Switzerland in the final.

The Nations League is not exactly the most prestigious tournament in the world, but it offers the Three Lions a chance to seize some precious silverware. It was formed to replace a number of friendlies in the calendar with competitive matches, allowing nations to play against teams of a similar stature. There is a trophy up for grabs and England are just two games away from lifting it, but the competition will be fierce and they will need to be at their very best if they are to triumph.

Three Lions Roaring into The Semi-Final

Neither of these teams were expected to make it through to the semi-finals after both landed in extremely difficult groups. England were up against in-form Spain and the same Croatia side who had just dumped them out of the World Cup, so were tipped to struggle. The Netherlands had an even more daunting task as they were up against France, who had just won the World Cup, and Germany, who won it in 2014. Yet both teams defied the odds to reach this stage and their meeting promises to be a fascinating one.

Former Everton boss Ronald Koeman deserves a great deal of credit for the work he has done in dragging the Netherlands out of the footballing wilderness. They failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, and Koeman has overhauled the squad, putting his faith in exciting young Ajax players like Matthijs de Ligt, Donny van de Beek and Barcelona-bound Frenkie de Jong. Van Dijk is now rated as the world’s best defender and he is expected to challenge Lionel Messi for this year’s Ballon d’Or after starring during Liverpool’s Champions League victory over Tottenham on Saturday.

Speaking of that final, Southgate now has an interesting job on his hands as he aims to unite the players that faced one another in Madrid. He has chosen six Spurs players and three Liverpool stars for his squad, and it will be interesting to see how they get on. Both teams looked lethargic in the Champions League showpiece, and that might concern Southgate. But he has a phenomenal team, blessed with much youthful dynamism, and it will be exciting to see the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho in action once more.

Ronaldo Ready to Excite in Semi-Final

The other Nations League semi-final sees Portugal line up against Switzerland on Wednesday night in Porto. These teams know one another well after they wound up in the same World Cup 2018 qualifying group. They could not have been more evenly matched. Switzerland beat Portugal 2-0 at home, while the Portuguese gained revenge with a 2-0 victory in Lisbon, and they both won all the rest of their games. That left them both on 27 points apiece, 14 clear of third placed Hungary, signifying how close they are in terms of quality. Further evidence comes from a glance at the FIFA world rankings, where Portugal are seventh and Switzerland are eighth.

Two things could count in Portugal’s favour. Firstly, they are the host nation for this tournament and they could benefit from strong home support. Secondly, in Cristiano Ronaldo they have a genuine superstar who can deliver the sort of individual brilliance that decides any game. Yet there is a collective strength about Switzerland, who are strong, tough, organised and disciplined at the back. This should be another absorbing clash.

Are we in for a Nations League Goal Fest?

We have priced up the Total Goals market at 2.45-2.65 for Portugal v Switzerland, suggesting that several goals are likely. You can choose to sell at 2.45 if you think it will be low scoring, or buy at 2.65 if you think there will be goals galore. Total Goals for the England v Netherlands match is priced at 2.5-2.7 in the Nations League markets, so our traders expect that to be a slightly more open and entertaining game, but there is not much difference in it. You just have to figure out if the likes of Ronaldo and Harry Kane will seize the day, or if both teams’ back lines will hold out defiantly.

Who is Favourite to Win the Nations League?

Our traders are expecting the England versus Netherlands game to be extremely close. In the Supremacy Market, they have England over Netherlands at just 0.05-0.25, making the Three Lions the narrow favourites. In the 100-0 Match Winner Index, England are priced at 36-42, while the Netherlands are 29-35, so we are essentially giving Southgate’s troops a better chance of reaching the final than Koeman’s side.

Portugal are 0.75-0.95 over Switzerland in the other semi-final, and they are 54-60 in the 100-0 Index, compared to 15-21 for the Swiss, so our traders are expecting Portugal to progress. If England did face Portugal in the final, the betting would be close once more, particularly as Portugal have home advantage. Right now, England, who are now up to fourth in the world rankings, would be considered the slight favourites to go on and win the tournament, but it looks extremely close.

Check out the many Nations League spread betting options available at Sporting Index to get in on the action! Football spread betting ramps up the thrill of the 90 minutes to keep every second compelling and gripping.

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