Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.
Manchester City’s win over Inter Milan marked the end of the club season, but their top stars aren’t done yet. There’s an international break to get through before the season truly finishes up, with silverware on the line.
The UEFA Nations League finals take place in the coming days, with some crucial Euro 2024 qualifiers squeezed in between. Ahead of those clashes, we’ve put together a shorter-form Long Haul covering the biggest internationals of the week.
Our International Long Haul was picked out using bet365’s odds. New customers can claim £30 in free bets through the link below.
International Long Haul
Wednesday – Netherlands vs Croatia
The 2023 Nations League finals kick off in Rotterdam, with the Netherlands the tournament hosts and bookies’ favourite for the trophy. However, a clash with World Cup 2022 spoilers Croatia could prove tough for them.
Croatia were able to put out Brazil on penalties in Qatar on their way to finishing third, four years on from their run to the final. The spine of those two sides head into the Nations League finals aiming for their first international trophy.
Croatia’s trademark approach is to shut down their opponents and force extra time and penalties. They should have an easier time against a Dutch side led by Ronald Koeman, who started his reign with a 4-0 hammering in Paris. Look to a solid Croatian side to hold firm.
Best bet: Croatia or draw double chance
Thursday – Spain vs Italy
The second semi-final pits together two European giants, although both sides are aiming to work their way back to the top. Spain were knocked out in the last 16 in Qatar, while Italy didn’t even qualify.
Despite that, the Italians look best placed to claim a place in the final. Spain’s 2-0 loss to Scotland in March showed how far la Roja have fallen since the peak of their powers 13 years ago. They lost 2-1 to Japan in Qatar before losing on penalties to Morocco.
Italy still have a clutch of Euro 2020 winners, while Spain are adapting to new coach Luis de la Fuente. Look to Roberto Mancini’s side to edge this clash.
Best bet: Italy to win
Friday – Denmark vs Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland’s Euro 2024 qualifying campaign got off to a slow start thanks to a 1-0 home defeat to Finland. That dampened the enthusiasm which followed the return of Michael O’Neill, but Group H still looks quite open.
That’s partly due to Denmark’s 3-2 loss in Kazakhstan in their opener. The Danes have been uncharacteristically open so far, with nine goals scored across their first two matches.
It’s going to take time for O’Neill to improve the NI defence, as they’ve kept two clean sheets in 10, which came against Cyprus and San Marino. They have managed to score nine across their last six internationals, so look to both teams to score.
Best bet: Both teams to score
Saturday – Norway vs Scotland
Scotland boosted their hopes of a return to the Euros by starting with two wins from two in Group A. They scored five goals without reply in their clashes with Cyprus and Spain, but keeping Erling Haaland quiet should be a trickier task.
Norway found scoring tough without him in March, but their defence was even more concerning. They conceded to Spain and Georgia, shipping four in total. Norway haven’t kept a clean sheet across their last seven internationals, so both teams to score is the best option in Oslo.
Best bet: Both teams to score
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