The Nations League finals will take centre stage this week, as four nations will be battling for two spots in the final. The Netherlands will have home field advantage for their semi-final showdown, as well as a potential match in the final. They will come up against Croatia on Wednesday, before Spain and Italy lock horns in the second semi-final on Thursday.
Netherlands vs Croatia
- Netherlands: 1/1
- Draw: 5/2
- Croatia: 27/10
It should be an interesting semi-final showdown between the Dutch and Croatia in Rotterdam on Wednesday. Holland previously reached the Nations League final in 2019, but they were defeated by host nation Portugal. The Dutch will have the added benefit of having home advantage for the finals this season, as they chase a first Nations League win.
Since the 2022 World Cup, they have endured contrasting results. They were easily brushed aside by France in their first match after the World Cup, before they bounced back to winning ways with a comfortable success over Gibraltar in their most recent international match.
Croatia certainly appears to be the value angle in this showdown this week, as the nation’s confidence should be high after finishing third in the World Cup. They were held to a 1-1 draw in their return to action against Wales, before Mateo Kovacic scored twice in a deserved 2-0 away win in Turkey in late March.
It should be a fascinating showdown between these nations, but I’m wary of the Dutch after their heavy defeat against France. Croatia appears to be the value angle, as they often excel against sides at this time of the year.
Spain vs Italy
- Spain: 13/10
- Draw: 22/10
- Italy: 24/10
Two nations with big questions hanging over them before the EUROs next summer will collide in the second semi-final on Thursday. Spain crashed out at the round of 16 stage at the World Cup, despite looking like serious contenders to win the tournament following the group stage. Italy will also have a point to prove after failing to qualify for the World Cup.
Spain has endured contrasting results since returning to action, as they bounced back with a 3-0 home win against Norway, before being shockingly beaten by Scotland by a 2-0 scoreline in late March.
Italy has also suffered a defeat this calendar year, as they lost 2-1 against England in Naples on March 23. However, they responded to that defeat in excellent fashion with a 2-0 away win against Malta. But, there are clear concerns surrounding their chances against a Spanish side with so much attacking threat this week.
Italy will likely be without a number of key players following the Champions League final, and Spain look primed to take advantage of that. We expect the Spanish to claim victory, and we could see them competing in a second straight final in the Nations League. But, we could see this match being a low-scoring affair with under 2.5 goals being recorded.