The third matchday of the new UEFA Nations League season gets going on Thursday evening when a number of top nations reach the halfway mark of a group campaign which has already thrown up plenty of interesting results.
With the tables beginning to take shape and promotion and relegation starting to present itself there is a lot at stake for those who are involved over the course of Thursday evening, including the inaugural winners Portugal.
The attention on Thursday evening will be on group A2 where Portugal and the Czech Republic head the way with four points each. They both meet each other on Thursday with the winner ending the latest round of matches in a very good position to push for a place in the semi-final. Switzerland and Spain have been left languishing a little and their match on Thursday at this stage is to keep hopes of avoid relegation to League B alive. Switzerland have lost their opening two matches and could really do with a result against a Spain team who have drawn both thus far.
The action in the second level on Thursday comes from group B4 where Norway have hit the ground running with wins in their opening two matches. They now play host to the side who have lost their first two games in the form of Slovenia. The other match in this section might just be the game of the night as Sweden play host to Serbia with the winners keeping the pressure up on Norway and the losers already looking for a recovery mission.
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Leagues C + D
It is a busy evening in the bottom two leagues where we have action from groups C2, C4 and D2. In C2 all eyes will be on Greece to see if they can keep up their 100% record for the campaign when they host their local rival Cyprus. The other match in that section sees Northern Ireland looking to find not just a first win but a first goal in the group. They head to Kosovo who have made an ok start to the group. Georgia are leading the way in C4 with two wins from their opening two matches but they face an away match at North Macedonia which won’t be easy. Gibraltar host Bulgaria in the other match which sees both sides looking for their first win of the competition. The other match comes in D2 where Malta welcome Estonia.
Switzerland haven’t really got going in this tournament yet and I’m not sure things are going to get any easier for the when they welcome Spain to Geneva. Admittedly the Swiss efforts so far in this competition have both been on the road but a 4-0 beating by Portugal last time out can’t have done a lot for their confidence and they are without Newcastle defender Fabian Schar for this match too as he is suspended.
I don’t think it has been the start to the campaign that the beaten finalists of last season Spain would have wanted but their two draws do at least offer them a platform to launch an attack for the semi-finals from if they are able to get the better of Switzerland in this match. While Spain haven’t looked as fluent defensively in this group so far, they are looking potent in front of goal and against a weakened Swiss side you would imagine ‘La Roja’ will be able to maintain that trend. I expect Spain to win this one.
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