World Champions to Bounce Back in Lisbon

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Portugal host France in one of the stand-out Nations League games on Saturday night.

Nations League Portugal

World champions France will be aiming to bounce back from their surprise friendly defeat to Finland when they take on Portugal in their winner-takes-all UEFA Nations League clash in Lisbon on Saturday.

An experimental Les Bleus side saw their 12-match unbeaten run ended on Wednesday at the Stade de France, as goals from Marcus Forss and Onni Valakari helped Finland to a shock 2-0 win.

However, Didier Deschamps is likely to recall the likes of Anthony Martial, Antoine Griezmann and N’Golo Kante to his starting XI on Saturday, while Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Pavard and Kingsley Coman are all expected to shake off injuries.

Big Guns Look Fairly Evenly-Matched

Portugal had no such friendly troubles during the week, thrashing Andorra 7-0, and they are likely to bring back captain Cristiano Ronaldo to the starting line-up after the Juventus star came off the bench to score his 102nd international goal on Wednesday.

Both sides are locked together on 10 points at the top of Group A3 and the winner of Saturday’s game will guarantee top spot and qualification for next year’s Nations League finals.

History certainly suggests France, who are priced at 2/1 to win the match, should come out on top, as they have only lost one of the last 12 meetings between the two sides, although that sole defeat was in the final of Euro 2016 when Eder scored a dramatic extra-time winner for Portugal.

Low-Scoring Clash in Basel

Switzerland sit bottom of Group A4 and realistically need to beat Spain in Basel on Saturday if they are to avoid relegation from the top tier of the Nations League, while a victory would see the visitors consolidate their place at the top of the standings.

Spain did not endure the best international break last month, scoring just one goal from their three games, although they only let it one at the other end too.

A 1-1 draw against the Netherlands in a friendly on Wednesday further suggests the goals are not exactly flowing for Luis Enrique’s side, while Switzerland are certainly not the most expansive side in Europe, although they did claim a 3-3 draw in Germany last month.

Each of the last three meetings between these two have yielded under 2.5 goals, including Spain’s 1-0 victory in last month’s reverse fixture, so backing a similarly low scoring game could be the way to go at 4/5.

Routine Win for Improving Germany

Germany finally seem to have got the knack of the UEFA Nations League. After failing to win any of their opening six games in the competition going back to last season, they have since taken four points from their last two games and are now unbeaten in five.

That run includes a 2-1 victory over Ukraine in Kiev last month and Joachim Low’s side will fancy their chances of repeating that result on home soil on Saturday, particularly as they have never lost to the visitors in seven previous meetings.

Ukraine are also notoriously poor travellers, losing each of their last three games on the road by an aggregate score of 13-1.

Germany will be confident of inflicting an emphatic defeat on Ukraine in Leipzig, particularly as they will be able to recall the likes of Timo Werner, Serge Gnabry and Toni Kroos, who were all rested for the midweek friendly victory over Czech Republic.

Indeed, Die Mannschaft are priced at 21/20 to win the Group A4 match to nil, a bet that could prove good value.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.

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