Another round of Nations League group fixtures are upon us and this is when things get serious. Promotion and relegation will be confirmed over the coming days and four teams will secure their places at next summer’s Nations League Finals.
We start off in Italy where Portugal are in town and hungry for a victory.
Italy vs. Portugal
Saturday, 17 November, 19:45
It’s difficult to know where Italy are as a team right now. They have won just two of their last 11 matches, but under Roberto Mancini they have at least become more difficult to beat in drawing five of those 11 games. This will be a real test for the Azzurri, though.
Cristiano Ronaldo has once more been left out of the Portugal squad for this match, while Pep is also suspended. Fernando Santos’ side can still lose to Italy and top the group to make the Nations League Finals, but a result here would set them up nicely.
Turkey vs. Sweden
Saturday, 17 November, 17:00
For Turkey, this match is something of a dead rubber. They can’t finish top of their Nations League group and sit in second place behind Russia.
Sweden will be without Emil Forsberg for this match, but that could benefit Jimmy Durmaz who will be free to play in his favoured position on the left wing. They need a win to stand any chance of catching Russia at the top of the group. Turkey won the reverse fixture 3–2 and have won each of their last three games against Sweden by a one-goal margin.
Romania vs. Lithuania
Saturday, 17 November, 19:45
Romania still have a chance of winning promotion to the second tier of the Nations League, but currently sit third in their group on six points. With Serbia on eight points and Montenegro on seven, a victory is needed on Saturday night.
Lithuania, on the other hand, are rooted to the foot of the group with not a single point from four games. Goals have been hard to come by in recent fixtures and so, with little to play for, it seems unlikely that Lithuania will pull off a shock.
Albania vs. Scotland
Saturday, November 17 2018, 19:45
For Alex McLeish and Scotland, it all comes down to the next two games. Two victories are required to secure top spot in their Nations League group and perhaps to ensure McLeish stays as national team manager. The pressure is on the former Aston Villa and Birmingham City coach.
Scotland’s squad has been decimated by injuries, with John McGinn the latest key figure to withdraw. Albania are a poor team whose form has been better away from home than in front of their own supporters, but Scotland aren’t much better themselves right now.
Recommended Nations League ACCA
Back the Draw in Italy vs. Portugal @ 11/5
Back Turkey to Score First vs. Sweden @ 5/6
Back Romania Over 1.5 Goals vs. Lithuania @ 4/7
Back Both Teams to Score @ Evens
Total Odds: 18.2/1
This will be where the real impact of the Nations League is felt. This is where there will be tension and excitement where there was previously only meaningless and soulless friendlies. Italy v Portugal is one game to certainly keen an eye on and if we can get through that game then the ACCA should be in good shape.
You can back this ACCA by downloading BetBull here and then following my profile gruthven
Nations League Saturday ACCA: The fight for promotion and relegation was originally published in blog.betbull.com on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.