Two extra-time defensive blunders cost England a place in the inaugural Nations League final so it will be Netherlands who do battle with hosts Portugal — our 15/8 tips for glory — for the trophy on Sunday.
Running total: -£54.10
Portugal are now as short as 7/10 with bet365 to lift the Nations League. On Wednesday, Cristiano Ronaldo scored an inspired hat trick to send the hosts through to Sunday’s showpiece, where they will meet Netherlands, who battled to a 3-1 extra-time success against England. It was a fairly laboured performance from Portugal, but in the end the man head coach Fernando Santos labelled a “football genius” helped them get the job done.
The Dutch were excellent at times on Thursday against the Three Lions but despite Virgil van Dijk partnering Matthijs de Ligt they did not always look comfortable at the back. With this in mind both teams to score looks a solid shout at 8/11. Van Dijk won every aerial duel against England and posted a 96 percent pass completion rate. Incredibly he is now odds on favourite with some firms to win the Ballon d’Or so it will be intriguing to see how he goes against Ronaldo, a player who has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or a record 15 times. The Estadio do Dragao is the venue on Sunday and we feel the Dutch might find the Portuguese a little too savvy on home soil.
Ronaldo is the top international European goal scorer of all-time. His numbers are simply incredible. That treble on Wednesday takes him to 88 goals in 157 appearances, and he’s the man who can ruin Ronald Koeman’s Nations League hopes in Porto.
Selection: £5.50 on both teams to score at 8/11 with bet365.
The First Goal Flutter
England can end what has been a largely positive Nations League campaign with victory against Switzerland in the third-place playoff. They were not firing on all cylinders on Thursday by any means but thought substitute Jesse Lingard’s late strike had put them on course for the inaugural Nations League final, only for VAR to cruelly intervene and rule it out for offside. If they can cut out the defensive errors, Gareth Southgate’s men should be too hot for the Swiss in Guimaraes on Sunday.
Croatia look a solid bet at 13/8 to cover a one-goal handicap against Wales. With the exception of Gareth Bale, this Welsh side does not have the class to go toe-to-toe with Croatia, who are unbeaten in 23 home games.
Northern Ireland punched out a routine 2-0 win when they met Estonia in their Group C opener and the Irish can maintain their perfect start by landing odds of even money in Tallinn. Estonia have failed to score in five of their last seven matches and look firmly against it. The England/Croatia/Northern Ireland treble pays a shade over 9/1 with bet365 and should go very close.
Selection: £5 on the treble at 9.02/1 with bet365.
The Wildcard Tip
France face a tough test in Euro 2020 qualifying on Saturday evening as they head to the Torku Arena for a clash against Turkey. Both teams have taken six points from two group games each in Group H but preference here is for France – who have lost just one of their last 20 matches — to make their extra class tell.
Selection: £1 on France to win 3-1 at 12/1 with bet365.