Heavyweight Clash Between Portugal And France Highlight Most Intriguing Nations League Matches to Watch This Weekend

Heavyweight Clash Between Portugal And France Highlight Most Intriguing Nations League Matches to Watch This Weekend – originally posted on Sportslens.com

With all football across the globe at a halt due to the international break, the UEFA Nations League will take center stage in Europe as Matchday five starts this weekend, with all fixtures being played between Saturday and Sunday, and you can live stream all Nations League using the sites here.

It will be a rematch of the Euro 2016 Final when Portugal host France, but it’s still unknown if Cristiano Ronaldo will be back for his huge clash after picking up an ankle injury with Juventus last weekend. Germany meanwhile will be looking for a much-needed victory after drawing three of their first four matches as they face a young and hungry Ukraine side.

Also in Group 4A, Spain takes on Switzerland. Over to Sunday, Poland will look to stay atop their group when they play Italy, who are currently just one point behind them. Lastly, Belgium faces England in which could be one of the most exciting matches to watch in this competition as the Red Devils look to continue their dominance in the Nations League.

Portugal vs France

Currently both tied at the top of their group with 10 points apiece, this match will prove to be extremely important. Matchday 3 of the Nations League saw Portugal and France play to a scoreless draw, but other than that, they’ve both won all their games thus far.

The Portuguese won this competition in its inaugural year back in 2019, beating the Netherlands in the final. However, in order to advance to the Nations League playoffs next fall, they’ll need to win this group.

Fernando Santos’ squad has looked solid through their first four matches, conceding just one goal while scoring nine times. Along the way, they’ve picked up points in convincing victories against Croatia and Sweden on two separate occasions. Liverpool star Diogo Jota leads Portugal with three goals in the competition and has hit his best form in club football, so it will be exciting to see what he’s able to do with his country in this massive fixture against France.

The defending World Cup champions will be also be seeking a crucial three points in this fixture as they travel to Lisbon. Goals will need to be scored for France though as their Matchday five counterparts have a substantially better goal difference. Borussia Monchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram has recieved his first call-up to the national team and should add some firepower on the attack for Les Bleus.

Didier Deschamps’ men have won three of their last five appearances against Portugal, but the lone defeat was in the Euro 2016 Final. However, they’re currently on an 11-match unbeaten competitive run.

With both sides having very strong backlines, this should be a close fixture with very few goals being scored.

Germany vs Ukraine

Germany faces an uphill battle in order to win this group that also consists of Spain, but a victory against Ukraine this weekend will take them one step closer to finishing at the top. Joachim Low’s side has been disappointing to this point, drawing three times and winning just once. That lone victory actually came against the Ukrainians on Matchday three, beating them 2-1 in Kyiv.

Timo Werner has been in top form with Chelsea and the hope is that he can continue to score goals at a high rate on international duty after netting twice in his first four Nations League appearances. The Germans are currently level on six points with Ukraine, so three points will be crucial in Leipzig for the home side.

Andriy Shevchenko’s men have landed in a very tough group but to this point, they’ve held their own. Ukraine impressed in EURO qualifying, advancing to next summer’s tournament while finishing above Portugal in their respective group after going undefeated in eight matches. Although their intent will be to advance to the Nations League Finals, at this point, they’re just playing spoiler.

Last time out against the Germans, they were lucky to lose by just one goal after being outplayed with just 27 percent of the possession. Ukraine will be hoping for a different result this time around, but with this Germany side hungry to finish above Spain, it’s definitely going to be a very tough clash.

Switzerland vs Spain

Switzerland currently sits at rock bottom of Group A4, after losing all their matches so far except for a draw against Germany. A defeat against Spain would see the Swiss be relegated to League B. But, Vladimir Petkovic’s side has gone unbeaten in their last 17 appearances on home soil, which is certainly a positive sign heading into a very difficult fixture. Last time out, they took away a point in a 3-3 result with the Germans.

Against a possession-heavy team like Spain, they’ll likely be running after the visitors for the majority of this match, but with an impressive record at home, Switzerland will be feeling confident. With relegation on the line, there’s certainly a lot to play for here.

Spain suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Ukraine on matchday four, which gave Germany the opportunity to creep an inch closer to them in this group. In Spanish fashion, they dominated the ball with more than 700 passes in this match, but finishing was an issue as they weren’t able to find the back of the net. Thanks to that dismal result, Luis Enrique’s side will be coming out firing against Switzerland as they look to grab three points before their final clash against Germany next week.

Due to Ansu Fati’s knee injury last weekend with Barcelona, Wolves star Adama Traore should feature in the starting XI for Spain in this match. Alvaro Morata has reinvented himself since joining Juventus prior to the season and will definitely be an important part of Enrique’s attack in their final two games.

Italy vs Poland

With just a point separating these two, this should be an exciting fixture. Italy played some thrilling football last time out in a 1-1 draw against the Netherlands, who is also in the running in Group A1. The Italians were creating boatloads of opportunities in the final third and should once again be a threat against a weaker Poland side, who have managed to grab seven points.

The Italians are still unbeaten in this group, but they’ve drawn three times and won just once. They’ve yet to win on home soil as well, tying both matches in Italy by 1-1 scorelines. Goals have been far and few between for Roberto Mancini’s side though, scoring just three times in four matches. It’s safe to say they will need a convincing victory this weekend.

Poland has done quite well to this point, going 2-1-1. Robert Lewandowski’s double against Bosnia on Matchday four sealed a 3-0 victory for the Poles, but their next two fixtures will test them as they take on Italy then the Dutch. Lewandowski has scored just twice so far but his clinical abilities in front of goal will surely be needed if Poland wants any chance of finish at the top of this group.

With such tantalizing opponents ahead, they will need to be at their absolute best. Both of their previous clashes with their Group A1 counterparts were close, as Poland has conceded just twice to this point. They played to a scoreless draw against the Italians last month and will need a similar result at the very least this weekend.

Belgium vs England

The Red Devils could put themselves above the pack if they beat England this weekend in Brussels, currently sitting in first place in Group A2. Belgium will be looking for revenge against a familiar foe though after they lost 2-1 to the Three Lions on Matchday three at Wembley after Mason Mount’s winner in the 64th minute. If Roberto Martinez’s side can beat England and Denmark drop points to Iceland, they will secure a comfortable lead in this group.

With a vibrant attack consisting of many top-notch strikers like Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku, the Belgians have scored ten goals in four matches, which is the most of any side in the Nations League. The Inter Milan star has three goals to his name, while Mertens and Michy Batshuayi have both netted two goals. Belgium has won ten straight on home turf while scoring an impressive 46 goals along the way.

England is currently tied with seven points alongside Denmark in this group in second spot, but their goal difference has been poor. Gareth Southgate’s men have scored just three goals, but also have conceded just twice.

A Harry Maguire red card in the 31st minute against the Danish on Matchday four led to a disappointing 1-0 defeat after Christian Eriksen converted on a spot-kick in the first half. A positive result is very much needed against Belgium this weekend if they want any chance of still advancing to the Finals next fall.

17-year old Borussia Dortmund phenom Jude Bellingham received his first call-up to the senior team and will be part of the squad that will travel to Brussels. Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold will be absent for England though after hurting his calf over the weekend against Manchester City.

This should also be a close match, but given Belgium’s perfect form at home, they look to have a slight advantage.




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