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.
The 2022/23 season is off to a relentless start to make room for the World Cup, but there’s still time for one international break. With the Premier League on hold until October, the Nations League takes centre-stage for the rest of this month.
You’d be forgiven for forgetting the state of the current Nations League, given that the first four rounds took place in June when none of the players wanted to be there. They should be slightly more enthusiastic about the September internationals with World Cup places up for grabs.
The final two games will settle who heads to the Nations League finals next summer, while there are promotion and relegation places to decide too. Here we’ve got a recap of how everything stands, alongside a 113/1 relegation acca and a 10/1 group winners tip!
Nations League relegation accumulator
Recap – Three Lions could use Big Sam
England have just two games to save their top-tier status, given that they’re rooted to the bottom of Group A3. Their winless start has left them in the relegation zone, three points shy of safety with Italy and Germany to face in their final two games.
The Three Lions could use former boss Sam Allardyce for September’s double-header as they bid to avoid the drop. However, there aren’t the only side in trouble with world champions France bottom of Group A1.
Wales also face an uphill battle in A4, having taken one point from their first four matches.
Nations League relegation tips
France are expected to get clear of danger, but they have a tough finish ahead. They’ve lost both home games so far, so being Austria at home isn’t a given. They finish up away to group leaders Denmark, which could spell relegation for the world champions.
In Group A2, Czech Republic sit a point clear of Switzerland but they head to face the Swiss in their final game. That’s likely to be a showdown for survival and home advantage is a huge factor for the Swiss, so back them to send the Czechs down.
England’s terrible start has left them in a difficult place. They head to Italy in their first game and a defeat there would send England down. If they can survive that trip, they’d still probably need to win at home to Germany to stay up, so it looks like the Three Lions are doomed to the drop.
Finally, Wales have a chance to save themselves in their final game against Poland. I expect both to lose their next games – against Belgium and Holland respectively – setting up a showdown in Cardiff which the Welsh can use to get to safety.
Nations League group winner accumulator
Race for the finals
With France struggling, it’s Denmark and Croatia fighting for first place in Group A1. The Euro 2020 semi-finalists currently hold a two-point lead heading into the final two games. Spain and Portugal are competing for a finals place, with just a point between the pair after four matches.
Group A3 is the most open, with Hungary top but Germany and Italy are still in contention. Meanwhile, Group A4 looks close to done, with the Dutch three points clear of Belgium ahead of their clash in Amsterdam.
Scots and Irish chasing promotion
While Northern Ireland wrestle with Cyprus to avoid finishing bottom in their third tier group, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland are eying the top tier.
The pair currently trailing Ukraine in Group B1 and they’re set to meet at Hampden Park this weekend. The Irish won 3-0 in the reverse clash, but they dropped five points across their double-header against Ukraine.
Nations League group winner tips
Denmark have their fate in their own hands, with a trip to Croatia to come before their home clash with France. Finishing at home is a boost to the Danes, while they are capable of causing problems for Croatia. Back them to do enough to secure top spot.
In Group A2, Portugal are good value for first given that they host Spain in their final group game. The Portuguese did enough to secure a draw in Seville but I think they’re capable of seeing off the Spanish in the reverse meeting.
Germany’s favourable double header of Hungary at home and England away should see them take first place. Hungary and Italy’s final day clash could see the pair take each other out of the mix, while Germany are only a point shy of first with a real chance of securing six points this month.
Finally, we’re backing Ukraine to beat the Scots and Irish to promotion. They are top after three games and their double-header with Scotland gives them the chance to hold the Tartan Army at bay. The fact that Scotland and Ireland face each other also plays into Ukraine’s favour.
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