Five Must-See Football Matches This Weekend
Harry Kane celebrates with head coach Gareth Southgate — Photo by ChinaImages

It’s all about the UEFA Nations League this weekend, with the group stage close to being finalised and determined ahead of the finals. It’s also crucial preparation for the World Cup starting in November.

Italy v England

Friday 8:45pm European time - UEFA Nations League

This is a repeat of last year’s Euro 2020 final, albeit played in Milan this time around. Gareth Southgate’s side are winless from four games in this Nations League, and they need three points to ensure they’re not relegated to League B, which will be automatic if they fail to win. For Italy, there’s a lot to play for having failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. Roberto Mancini’s side is undergoing a rebirth and needs to be seen to be making progress, despite last year’s continental triumph. They’re still in the mix to top the group and reach the finals.

Germany v Hungary

Friday 8:45pm European time - UEFA Nations League

Feeding on from the above, Germany will know if they can beat Hungary in Leipzig they will be in the box seat to top the group and qualify for the finals. Hungary are currently top of Group 3 with seven points, one ahead of Die Mannschaft, with Italy third on five. Marco Reus is unavailable for Germany but they have an abundance of talent including Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Muller, while Hungary arguably rely on Dominick Szoboszlai, who’ll be playing where he plies his club football.

Czech Republic v Portugal

Saturday 8:45pm European time - UEFA Nations League

A lot of the attention in this Group 2 contest will centre around Cristiano Ronaldo who has struggled for form this season at Manchester United, but returns to the national team fold where he’s dominated. Spain leads this group with eight points from four games, ahead of Portugal on seven, with the Czechs back on four, so realistically it feels like it’s between the Iberian neighbours for top spot and they’re due to meet on the final matchday on Tuesday. Portugal needs to win in Prague to keep that live.

Denmark v France

Sunday 8:45pm European time - UEFA Nations League

Sunday’s groups are down to their final games after playing on Thursday, so it comes down to this to determine who finishes top and qualifies for the Nations League finals. Les Bleus would have been fancied to progress and defend their title but they are out of the running having failed to win any of their first four matches. Denmark are one point behind Croatia, who go to Austria in the other game. The Danes need to win and hope for Austria not to. It’ll be tight and France won’t make it easy, but the famous Copenhagen crowd will be in their side.

Netherlands v Belgium

Sunday 8:45pm European time - UEFA Nations League

The situation in Group 4 is arguably more enticing, with only the Dutch and Belgians capable of progressing, and matched up against one another. The Oranje are three points clear and boast a 4-1 win over Belgium earlier in the league, meaning the visitors must triumph by three or more goals in Amsterdam. That seems tough but this is an exceptional Belgium outfit led by Kevin De Bruyne along with the likes of Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens and Youri Tielemans. Cody Gakpo has scored in the past two Nations League games for the Dutch and looks a major emerging talent.

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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