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UEFA Nations League: England Eager to Salvage Some Pride

UEFA Nations League: England Eager to Salvage Some Pride

England vs Iceland

England’s UEFA Nations League campaign is essentially over after a 2-0 defeat to Belgium eliminated any chance of them reaching the semi-finals.

The Three Lions now have only pride to play for when they host Iceland in their final Nations League group game.

Iceland have long been relegated from League A after a disastrous campaign. And after back-to-back heartbreaking defeats during this international break, the UEFA Nations League 2020 odds of them finishing their campaign with a positive result in England do not look particularly promising.

Talking Points

Southgate’s England continue to sputter

England’s Nations League run came to a disappointing end with their 2-0 defeat to Belgium, their second Nations League defeat in a row.

Once again, England manager Gareth Southgate decided to use the 3-4-2-1 formation which has produced some unconvincing UEFA Nations League 2020 results. And while England significantly outshot Belgium 16-8, they only had three shots on target as their attack continues to look subpar.

The Three Lions have now scored just three goals in their five Nations League matches — tied for the fewest in the entire League A — a wildly disappointing return for a team with such highly touted attacking talent.

After getting the start in their 3-0 friendly win over Ireland, Jack Grealish kept his place in the starting XI against Belgium, and he didn’t disappoint. The Aston Villa playmaker was one of the bright spots for England as he showed why he’s been among the best players in the Premier League this season.

But since he started the first two games in this international break, Grealish is likely to make way against Iceland. Phil Foden and 17-year-old Jude Bellingham, who has been in fine form at Borussia Dortmund, are two of the main candidates to take his spot as Southgate is likely to take a look at other members of his squad.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who’s scored twice in his first five international caps, could also be handed another start up front in place of captain Harry Kane.

Meanwhile, injuries to Raheem Sterling — who missed the Belgium match — and Jordan Henderson are also expected to open up opportunities for other members of the squad.

Iceland coming off back-to-back heartbreaking defeats

Iceland’s nightmare Nations League campaign is mercifully coming to an end. They have now lost all five of their group matches after a dramatic defeat to Denmark.

The Icelanders thought they had done enough to secure their first point of the campaign after equalising in the 85th minute. But Denmark got a late winner through Christian Eriksen’s second penalty of the match in stoppage time.

It was a second demoralising defeat in the span of just a few days for Iceland, who lost their Euro 2020 qualifying play-off to Hungary in the most heartbreaking fashion imaginable.

They had taken the lead thanks to an early Gylfi Sigurdsson goal and looked on course to qualify, but they conceded twice to Hungary in the last few minutes to lose 2-1.

Iceland were reasonably competitive against England in their first group meeting, but after such a physically and emotionally draining last few days, it seems hard to see how Iceland will be able to get themselves up for this matchup with England.

Iceland manager Erik Hamren doesn’t have a lot of depth in his squad, so his side will likely be battling significant fatigue.


England and Iceland have faced off just four times in their history. England have won two of those four meetings, including their first Nations League matchup in September. Raheem Sterling scored a penalty to hand England the 1-0 away win.

Iceland do own a win over England, though, and it’s arguably the most famous in their history. They beat the Three Lions 2-1 in the round of 16 of Euro 2016.

Wayne Rooney put England in front from the penalty spot after just four minutes, but Iceland stormed back immediately with goals from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson to reach the quarter-finals.

Betting Tip

England Asian Handicap -1.75 @ 1.87

Despite England’s recent struggles, they have a perfect opportunity to end this Nations League campaign on a high against Iceland. The Icelanders figure to have very little left in the tank after their recent internationals and are ripe for the picking.

SBOTOP odds currently have England at -1.75 on the Asian Handicap, and just like in their win over Ireland, the influx of hungry young players like Calvert-Lewin, Foden and Bellingham should see them pick up a comfortable win at Wembley.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.




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