Matchday 05 of the UEFA Nations League promised and delivered plenty. We saw almost all the great European stars in action and there was enough drama to get us out of slumber.
Even after five gameweeks, there are a few groups that haven’t taken shape; while a few others are gearing up for an epic finale. Today, we’ll give you our pick of the bunch — tell you which five games you shouldn’t miss on Matchday 06.
#1 Spain vs Germany — Tuesday
Spain and Germany are widely hailed as two of the most prominent footballing powerhouses in the world. They have some of the most revered names in the business playing for them, and they never seem satisfied with anything less than a convincing win.
Neither of the two footballing nations have dazzled in the UEFA Nations League, but Germany do have a slender one point advantage over the hosts going into the final matchday.
Spain’s Sergio Ramos missed two crucial spot-kicks in La Roja’s last outing in the Nations League and would be doubly determined to make amends. Germany, on the other hand, beat Ukraine 3-1 in their last match and would look to carry over their fine form against a gritty opponent.
#2 Croatia vs Portugal — Tuesday
Two former Ballon d’Or winners, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric, are set to take the stage under the floodlights in Croatia on Tuesday night for their final Nations League group stage encounter.
The defending European champions, Portugal, have a much stronger team on paper, but they cannot afford to make the mistake of taking Croatia lightly.
The hosts, who have only acquired three points from five matches, are already out of the knockouts, but that shouldn’t stop them from going for the kill against Portugal.
A win on Tuesday would land them in a comfortable third-place slot, which seems highly likely given Sweden’s upcoming date with the group leaders, France.
#3 Poland vs Netherlands — Wednesday
When Italy missed out on World Cup qualifications in 2018, very few expected them to stay down. Now, only after a year of sabbatical, Italy seem to have bounced back, a lot stronger than their recent attempts.
Poland, who crossed paths with the four-time champions in the last matchday, were handed a 2-0 defeat in Italy and are looking to locate their bearing before their final group stage fixture.
While Poland were struggling to breach Italy, Netherlands cruised to a comfortable 3-1 win over bottom-dwellers, Bosnia.
On paper, Poland still have a one-point lead (8) over the third-placed Netherlands, but a win for the visitors would flip the ranking in an instant. Italy, who will take on Bosnia, are at the top of the table with nine points.
#4 England vs Iceland — Wednesday
Gareth Southgate’s England went into the Nations League full of promise and potential. They seemed to have the perfect blend of experience and exuberance, which made them the favourites alongside Belgium.
Five group stage matches in, England have only managed to nick two wins and find themselves in the third position. The Three Lions were undone in both of their last two encounters, against Denmark and Belgium, respectively.
Elsewhere, Iceland have been quiet since the tournament began and are yet to pick up a single point in the group. The team, of course, have an indomitable aura, which can never be written off.
England would hate to have a flashback of the famous Euro 2016 defeat at the hands of the spirit of Iceland.
#5 Belgium vs Denmark — Wednesday
The two best teams of Group B will go head-to-head in the search of Nations League glory. Table-toppers, Belgium, who got an impressive 2-0 win over England in their last outing, would be looking to get another win under their belt, but dismantling this new-look Denmark side is unlikely to be very straightforward.
Denmark, who are two points behind Belgium (12), have a sense of swagger that’s hard to miss. Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne may very well be the best midfielder in the Premier League, but Christian Eriksen’s boots cannot be written off.
Combine Eriksen’s attention to detail with Martin Braithwaite’s quick breaks, and you have an excellent match on your hands.