Another season of the UEFA Nations League gets up and running on Wednesday evening when Poland play host to Wales in Wroclaw with the opening match in Group A4 getting going ahead of the rest due to Wales’ World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
These two have been drawn in a section with Belgium and the Netherlands so you would imagine that this is a match they will both need a positive result from if they are not only going to challenge for top spot honours, but also avoid relegation at the end of the campaign.
Where to watch
The match will be shown live on the Premier Sports 1 channel for those who subscribe to that service. The build-up begins at 4.30pm and kick off comes at 5pm.
This could have been a nervy week for Poland but the World Cup play-off draw went kind for them and with Russia chucked out of the competition they were able to take advantage and seal their spot in Qatar later in the year. For them now it is all about building confidence and form to take into that tournament and that begins in the Nations League, where they have a competitive group but one they could perform well in if they play to their best.
I think it is fair to say we haven’t really seen Poland at their best in tournament football but they have a great chance to start off with a win here. They beat Sweden to make it into the World Cup which is a good result and now they’ll be looking to bring an improving attack to life. It will be interesting to see whether Robert Lewandowski has the bit between his teeth here given that he appears to be in the shop window for a move.
Usually this would be an important tournament for Wales because they are not quite yet in a position where they can guarantee automatic qualification for a major tournament but the timing of this particular match couldn’t have come much worse for them. What makes it even worse is that when the draw was done this would be one of the matches they would have targeted to win to remain at this level going forward.
However their focus understandably has to be on their World Cup qualifier on Sunday evening. That might be the biggest game they have ever played so this has to be considered an inconvenience really and it would be a big surprise if Robert Page named anything close to a full strength side. I’m sure they won’t want to get spanked or anything like that but their attention has to be elsewhere than this match and that is never ideal.
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Although the matches come thick and fast in this international break Poland are expected to name a strong side, one which will include Robert Lewandowski despite the transfer saga hanging over his head. That leaves Adam Buksa having to settle for a place on the bench.
Wales boss Robert Page is expected to rest a number of star players for this match such as Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen and Daniel James. Sorba Thomas won’t play after featuring in the Championship play-off final on Sunday neither will Brennan Johnson.
I don’t think there is too much going against the grain about picking Poland to win this match but it is the obvious bet. They don’t always come in but I think on this occasion everything points to a home win. There is motivation on the side of the Poland players as they build up for the World Cup whereas Wales, who haven’t been to a World Cup in 64 years simply have too much invested on Sunday evening for this match to become any sort of priority.
Poland will be full of confidence having qualified for the World Cup and while there is an element that they could take their foot off the gas, we are far enough out from the World Cup for that not to be likely and they will want to remain in League A of this competition to assist with their chances of reaching future major tournaments. Throw in the home advantage and wanting to impress a home crowd and I don’t see Poland slipping up here.
Back Poland to beat Wales for a 3/10 stake at 1.75 with Betway