Poland v Netherlands
Poland are still in a battle to avoid relegation in this group, they are the lowest ranked team in the league and could face a relegation deciding match in Cardiff in their last match. Poland have only won 2 of their 7 home Nations League matches ever and will be looking to find a third win to secure a spot in League A again next season. The Netherlands have been rejuvenated since the return of Louis van Gaal as manager. They are yet to lose in his 13 matches in charge and have won 9 of these.
While the reverse fixture ended 2-2 the final xG score saw the Netherlands win 2.58-0.74 and the Netherlands also won in their previous trip to Poland. A win for the Netherlands here will most likely see them play a decider against Belgium to see who will top the group so van Gaal will be expecting another win here. The Netherlands should be far too strong for Poland in this match and if they perform to a level like they did in the last match between the teams then expect the Netherlands to comfortably get the win here.
Azerbaijan v Slovakia
For Slovakia, this group is effectively over, relegation and promotion are both extremely unlikely but while mathematically still possible, they will hope the group can still end well for them. Slovakia’s 4 matches so far have seen just 6 goals involved and they have always been a team built more on being hard to break down than being an effective attacking unit. 3 of their last 6 matches have ended 1-0 and only 1 has had over 2.5 goals, in their 2-1 loss to Kazakhstan. They face an equally defensive Azerbaijan team that has only seen 5 goals in their opening 4 matches. Only 1 of these 4 matches has seen over 1.51 xG so it is not a surprise that I am predicting a low goal count in this match as well. This follows a similar pattern to Slovakia who have only had 1 match out of 4 with over 1.61xG.
The last match between the teams had just 1.25xG and 4 of the last 6 matches between the teams have had less than 2.5 goals. Both teams are more defensively minded and with Slovakia having little to play for they are unlikely to push further forward than normal. Both teams will more than likely cancel each other out, leading to a low scoring game and therefore I am backing under 2.5 goals.
Liechtenstein v Andorra
Liechtenstein are ranked number 194 whereas Andorra are up in 154th. This might not seem like much of a difference, however when you look at Liechtenstein’s recent record you can quickly see quite how poor they are as a team. They have lost 17 of their last 18 matches and their only draw was against Armenia. They have scored in just 4 of these 18 matches, scoring just once each time and so the likelihood of them scoring against Andorra is low enough, never mind winning. While Andorra are also a team that loses a lot, they have 3 wins in their last 11 competitive matches, beating San Marino 2-0 and 3-0 as well as beating Liechtenstein in the reverse fixture 2-1. Andorra won the reverse fixture 1.35-0.24 on xG and the lack of chances Liechtenstein are able to create means it will be a tough slog for them to get anything from this match.
If you are feeling brave, backing Andorra to win would still be a pretty good shout, but just in case Liechtenstein can hold Andorra to a 0-0 or nick a goal like last match and clinch a draw, I am backing Andorra Draw no bet, so in this eventuality we get our stake back. I see it as almost definite that Liechtenstein will not win the match, so this should either win or end with us getting our stake refunded or voided in an acca.
Germany v Hungary
When the groups were revealed, Hungary were quite clearly predicted to come bottom, but 4 games in, it would take a miracle for them to be relegated and they can win here to put themselves in a great position to actually win the group. Hungary have scored in all 4 of their Nations League matches so far and will fancy themselves against a Germany team they drew 1-1 with at home and could’ve beaten at the Euros when the sides drew 2-2. With an average of 1.26 xG created per match, Hungary can expect to score in most matches they play.
Germany are still a top team but they are not what they were when they won the World Cup in 2014. While Hansi Flick is still unbeaten in his time in charge of Germany, they have conceded in 6 of their last 7 matches in all competitions only keeping a clean sheet against Israel. Germany have conceded an average of 1.43 xG per match and did actually lose 0.92-1.38 to Hungary on xG in the last match between then two.
Germany and Hungary are both goalscoring teams and being the underdog in this match will suit Hungary to a tee. Germany are not as stable at the back as they would like to be so I see both teams scoring in this match.
Italy v England
Although England have only managed to score once so far in the Nations League, they have created a whopping 6.0 xG. Results have not been good enough and that has seen Southgate come back under pressure, especially after the 4-0 loss to Hungary, but the reality is England have not been getting the results their performances have deserved. England have created at least 1.4 xG in every match except that 4-0 loss to Hungary and it is only a matter of time before they start scoring again. Southgate has stuck with a squad of players he trusts so I am expecting a similar type and level of performance.
Italy have also created significant goalscoring opportunities, averaging 1.37 xG per match. Italy’s performance so far won’t have disappointed fans too much, but questions were once again asked of the Italians after their 5-2 loss to Germany in their last game. Only the reverse fixture between the teams has seen the Italians involved in a match that didn’t have both teams score, however the xG score in that match was 2.17-1.22 to England. Judging by the xG statistics from that match we can expect another match with plenty of chances for both teams, so a 0-0 draw is very unlikely to happen again.
England most likely need to win for a real chance of staying in League A so if they do go behind, they will only push forward further chasing a goal. However this match goes, both teams will attack and I am therefore backing both teams to score.
Finland v Romania
Finland matches have seen 10 goals in the 4 matches so far, averaging 2.5 goals per game, however the xG over this period has been 12.24, an average of 3.08 xG per match. Apart from their match against Montenegro, Finland’s matches have been very open and with the influence of Pukki up front, Finland are always able to score plenty of goals. Romania matches have also been very open, despite the goals tally that has been seen in them. While Romania matches have average just 1.75 goals per game, they have seen 2.84 xG per match. For both teams their most open match was against each other in the reverse fixture. Despite only ending 1-0 to Romania, the match had a huge 4.37 xG.
I expect an open game still as both teams only know one way of playing but both teams will also know a loss in this game will probably see them relegated. Therefore a team goes behind they will have to chase the game, making it even more open and potentially leading to even more chances and probably goals, especially if there is an early goal.
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