Croatia take on England in new found derby
The international break is once again upon us, and while many loathe at the absence of club football, the creation of the Nations League is FIFA’s answer to fans’ undying thirst for fast-paced football, gut-wrenching tackles and majestic displays if brilliance that we see week in and week out in Europe’s top leagues.
You can only get the best odds on this week’s fixtures at the OddsShark website.
The Nations League is here to stay, at least until the next European Cup, and it has been created to provide more high-profile matches, instead of the meaningless friendlies that were put on the TV during the breaks from league football. This brand-new league can seem a bit baffling due to the complexities of its rules, but really, it’s quite easy to understand and very practical given all the nations that will participate in the League and the number of spots it can grant to those not able to qualify to the 2020 European Cup through its qualifiers.
Understanding the Nations League
The Nations League includes all 55 of UEFA’s member associations, which are split into four different Leagues. League A has the strongest 12 nations in Europe, which include, World Cup winners France, Croatia, Belgium, England, Germany and the rest of Europe’s cream of the crop, of course, these listings are based on UEFA’s coefficient. League B also has 12 nations and it includes Europe’s best second tier teams like, 2016 European Cup semifinalists, Wales. 2018 World Cup semifinalists, Russia and Sweden and many more. There are 15 teams in League C, and League D consists of Europe’s 16 lowest ranked nations.
Each league is split into four different groups of 3 or 4 teams in each group, and each team will play each other twice, home and away in a span of 3 months. The four teams that finish in first place in League A will qualify for the UEFA Nation Leagues Finals in June 2019. League A is the place to be for all the other teams in the lower groups, and 16 group winners will undoubtedly be qualified for the UEFA European Cup Championship Playoffs come March 2020, as each four group winners will play a Semifinal and then Final to enter the Euro 2020. It gets more complicated if a nation is already qualified to the European finals come 2020, but you can check out the OddsShark website because they will have you covered on the latest and greatest regarding this newly created Fifa football tournament. However, it’s fair to say that this is a reason for smaller nations to support their national teams all throughout the year.
Croatia x England
Croatia will face in England in probably the best Nations League game on Friday. They are both in group 4 of League A, along with Spain, who are the only nation to have played 2 matches and picked up the 6 points in this group. Croatia will be showcasing three of their short-listed players for the Ballon d’Or, Luka Modric, who has already picked up Fifa’s Best Player of the Year award, along with Mario Mandzukic and Ivan Rakitic. England’s Harry Kane is the only player on the list for the Three Lions. Both teams will want to put on better performances, especially Croatia who managed to reach the World Cup finals, barely missing out on the title with fine performances throughout the whole competition, only to meet Spain a few months later, in precisely the Nations League and lose by a whopping 6-0 score line.
England will also head into the match demanding some sweet revenge against Croatia, the nation who knocked them out of the World Cup. You can check out the OddsShark website for the best odds on this matchup. Gareth Southgate and his men were so close to bringing it home at last summer’s tournament, but couldn’t get past the Croatian side in the semifinals - a side that passed Argentina off the park and won comfortably 3-0. Both sides will want to get back on track internationally speaking, because many of their players have been in fine form domestically, for their respective clubs.
UEFA Nations League Fixtures
FRIDAY, 12 OCTOBER
(1.55) Austria x Northern Ireland (7.50); draw (4.00)
(1.61) Belarus x Luxembourg (7.00); draw (3.80)
(1.45) Belgium x Switzerland (8.00); draw (4.75)
(2.80) Croatia x England (2.80); draw (3.20)
(3.90) Estonia x Finland (2.25); draw (3.10)
(1.75) Greece x Hungary (5.75); draw (3.60)
(1.083) Moldova x San Marino (34.00); draw (13.00)
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