EUROPE: UEFA Nations League

Date: 07-10-21

Time: 7:45 PM

Venue: Allianz Stadium (Turin)

The UEFA Nations League (UNL) returns for this mouthwatering, heavyweight semi-final battle between two of Europe’s most famous footballing nations. After both suffered disappointing respective ends to Euro 2020, FIFA’s top-ranked Belgium and #4-ranked France will have their eyes firmly set on the prize here, as the ‘Red Devils’ look to avenge their 2018 World Cup semi-final loss to France in their last H2H meeting.

Since their loss to eventual champions Italy at the Euro’s, Belgium have reasserted their fantastic form by winning all three of their World Cup Qualifying (WCQ) matches whilst taking a real stranglehold on Group E. Here, they make their way to the UNL showpiece tournament in Italy having won five of their six UNL group games previously (L1), scoring 16 goals in those six fixtures – the competition’s biggest such return.

The aim for Roberto Martínez’s men will be to take the title in this competition, as they’re still the only #1 ranked nation in history never to have won a major tournament. The same can’t be said for current world champions France though, who qualified undefeated from their UNL group (W5, D1) which contained both World Cup runners-up Croatia and defending UNL champions Portugal.

Since ‘Les Bleus’ shock ‘Round of 16’ Euro 2020 exit to Switzerland, manager Didier Deschamps has overseen two draws and a win in their three WCQ games, as their big tournament hangover continues. Their H2H record provides some confidence though, as their defeat of Belgium during the 2018 World Cup extended their marvellous H2H record over their European neighbours who they now haven’t lost to in a competitive match since September 1981!

Players to watch: Romelu Lukaku has four goal contributions in his last two internationals for Belgium (G:3, A:1), while France are undefeated in the 24 matches in which Karim Benzema has got on the scoresheet for his country (W22, D2).

Recent Stats:

  • Belgium’s form in last 5 matches: WWWLW.
  • France’s form in last 5 matches: WDDDD.

PREDICTION: BTTS

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