2021 UEFA Nations League Finals: preview and predictions

2021 UEFA Nations League Finals: preview and predictions

The second UEFA Nations League finals run from Wednesday, October 6, to Sunday, October 10. They had been due to be carried in June but were rescheduled so the delayed EURO 2020 finals could take place.

What is the Nations League?

Nations League was founded in 2018 by UEFA to replace international friendly matches for European teams. 55 teams across the continent were divided into four leagues. League A featured Europe’s top 16 teams spread across four groups of four. After a set of round-robin matches, the four group winners from League A progressed to the finals, where the winners will become the champions.

Portugal won the first competition but didn’t make it out of their group for the 2021 season.

Italy vs Spain previous meetings

Italy’s record in 34 meetings with Spain is W9 D13 L12, with their most recent match in the semi-finals of UEFA EURO 2020, where the Azzurri win on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Italy also eliminated Spain from EURO 2016, winning 2-0 in the round of 16 – relief for Spain’s 4-0 win in the final of UEFA EURO 2012 in Kyiv.

Belgium vs France previous meetings

Belgium have 74 meetings with neighbours France: W30 D19 L25. The sides last met in the 2018 FIFA World Cup semi-finals, Les Bleus won 1-0 and later became world champions.

Nations League predictions

The first semi-final is a replay of a match at the EURO, where Italy won on penalties. This time the Azzurri even have home advantage, so a win seems probable. However Italy lost points at home against Bulgaria in World Cup qualifying, and Spain lost away against Sweden. Italy and Spain are on a similar level, but as reigning European champions at home, Italy should be regarded as favourites.

As for Belgium and France, they both had disappointing EURO campaigns, even though losing to eventual champions Italy is significantly more forgivable than failing to beat Switzerland as the reigning world champion. Belgium’s start to World Cup qualifying has been better, but France’s group is a bit tougher. Belgium and France are about on equal level, but they’re good in different ways. So this is quite difficult to guess the most probable outcome.

Nations League fixtures

6 October, 20:45 CEST: Italy vs Spain (Milan)
7 October, 20:45 CEST: Belgium vs France (Turin)

Match for third place
10 October, 15:00 CEST: Turin

10 October, 20:45 CEST: Milan

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