Listen to this article now
The UEFA Nations League was first announced in 2018. It was meant to be this biennial footballing extravaganza, which would give purpose to the international friendly fixtures that take place between UEFA-accredited teams.
Portugal, quite famously, won the first iteration, and, now, all the top dogs are gearing up to put the champions down.
Currently, we’re in the preliminary group stage of the tournament, with all teams set to take on their respective group members exactly twice.
The opening 4 matches have already given us plenty to talk about and look forward to, and we believe, Matchday 05 of the UEFA Nations League won’t also disappoint on that front.
#5 Sweden vs Croatia — Saturday
Historically, Sweden and Croatia have always managed to produce a gritty and indomitable brand of football. Their football isn’t always the most exciting, but there’s always this sense of unpredictability — which we all love — shrouding it.
Croatia and Sweden both haven’t been at their best in the UEFA Nations League, so far, and sit at third and fourth positions, respectively.
Sweden, especially, have been particularly awful and are still looking for their first point of the campaign. Croatia got the win over Sweden in the previous round but could have a hard time in Sweden’s backyard.
#4 Germany vs Ukraine — Saturday
The 2014 World Cup winners, Germany, have one of the most star-studded squads in Europe. They have an abundance of talent at their disposal and a coach who knows how to win major tournaments.
Still, for reasons unknown, they have been painfully ordinary in the competition.
After picking up six points from their four Nations League games, second-placed Germany would look to get all three points against Ukraine, at home.
The visitors are currently tied on points with the Germans and are well in contention to spring a surprise. If both teams play to their strengths, we should be in for an exciting evening of football on Saturday.
#3 Italy vs Poland — Sunday
After failing to quality for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Italy were — and currently are — forced to go through a transition period. Almost all the dependable veterans have departed and the team is in need of a structural overhaul.
Coach Roberto Mancini has done a pretty decent job so far and is looking to produce to go deep in the Nations League.
Their rivals, Poland, are currently at the top of the group with seven points and have the blessing of one of the most decorated strikers of the era — Robert Lewandowski.
The Bayern Munich number 9 has the quality to produce something really special out of the ordinary, and Italy must remain wary of his deft touches in front of goal.
#2 Belgium vs England — Sunday
Two excellent teams, boasting some of the most decorated stars out there — Belgium versus England promises to be an absolute cracker of a contest.
Both the Group B teams have been a bit inconsistent so far, failing to produce their best brand of football. The hosts, Belgium, are currently sitting at the summit with nine points, but third-placed England — seven points from four games — won’t go down without a fight.
The absence of Eden Hazard could take the wind out of Belgium’s sails, but the Devils still have plenty of firepowers to give Gareth Southgate’s England a run for their money.
#1 Portugal vs France — Saturday
The world champions will be taking on the champions of Europe in an epic clash at the Estadio da Luz — European fixtures hardly get any better than this.
The reigning European champions, Portugal, may very well be without their record goalscorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, but France aren’t likely to get the chance to rest on their laurels.
France, on the other hand, will have most of their first-teamers ready to go and would fancy themselves to get all three points. Their last meetup ended in a tactical goalless draw, but we hope to see a couple of goals this time around.