This week sees a break from the usual routine of domestic league games and the occasional Champions League and Europa League ties, as players head to different parts of the world to join uop with their fellow countrymen for another international break.
This break is the final one of the year and will see the final two matchdays in the Nations League take place. This will bring to an end the Group Stage of the tournament, after which the promotion and relegation issues between the four leagues will be finalised, and the four teams that progress from League A into the semifinals to be played in June, will be known.
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In League A and B, all groups comprise of three teams and as such, there is still a huge amount to play for in every group. In most groups, both winning the group and the team that will finish bottom and be relegated, are still yet to be finalised, which makes these final two matches so intriguing.
All groups in League’s C and D comprise of four teams, apart from Group 1 in League C (which includes Scotland), and in some of these groups things are a little more clear cut, however in others, there is still plenty to play for.
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In this article, we are going to focus on the four Home Nations, England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland and take a look at how their groups will be finalised and the different combinations of results required for the teams to either land success, or face the dreaded drop.
We will then give you the tips for the two games taking place in each of the four groups over Matchdays Five (Thursday to Saturday) and Six (Sunday to Tuesday).
League A: Group 4
Final Group Games
- Matchday 5 – Croatia v Spain
- Matchday 6 – England v Croatia
In this group, all conceivable combinations are still possible, apart from the fact that Spain cannot be relegated from the group. There are result combinations which will see any of the three teams in this group earn top spot.
- Spain – Need to win against Croatia to clinch top spot, or to draw with Croatia and then for England fail to beat Croatia in their second game. Spain can lose to Croatia and if England and Croatia draw, the Spanish would still go through.
- England – England need Spain to lose or draw against Croatia and then they need to beat Croatia on Sunday in order to finish top of the group. Regardless of the result in the first game, if Croatia beat England at Wembley, then England would be relegated from the group.
- Croatia – If Croatia draw with Spain and beat England, then they will finish second in the group and England will be relegated. If Croatia beat Spain and then beat England, they will top the group and move into the semifinals. If Croatia beat Spain and then draw with England either 1-1 or better, then England would be relegated due to their head to head record with Croatia. If Croatia beat Spain and draw 0-0 with England, Croatia would be relegated on goal difference, unless they beat Spain by six or more goals.
Tip 1 – Croatia v Spain – Draw
Tip 2 – England v Croatia – Home Win
League B: Group 3
Final Group Games
- Matchday 5 – Austria v Bosnia Herzegovina
- Matchday 6 – Northern Ireland v Austria
Northern Ireland cannot win Group 3 of League B, but they can still play a key role in deciding who does. Bosnia-Herzegovina hold the group in their hand with nine points and they need just one point from the game with Austria to be certain of topping the group.
- Bosnia-Herzegovina – They will win the group if they draw or win in Austria, or if Austria fail to win both their games this week.
- Austria – Need to beat both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Northern Ireland and also ensure they beat Bosnia Herzegovina by a better scoreline than 1-0, in order to top the group. If they beat Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0, then they would need to beat Northern Ireland by three goals or more to win the group.
- Northern Ireland – Need Austria to lose to Bosnia-Herzegovina and then to beat Austria by better than a 1-0 scoreline in order to avoid relegation. If they beat Austria 1-0, then they need Austria to lose by more than three goals against Bosnia-Herzegovina to avoid relegation.
Tip 1 – Austria v Bosnia-Herzegovina – Draw
Tip 2 – Northern Ireland v Austria – Draw
League B: Group 4
Final Group Games
- Matchday 5 – Wales v Denmark
- Matchday 6 – Denmark v Republic of Ireland
The permutations in this group are a little simpler than in others, a Wales victory in their final game with Denmark would see Wales win the group. Denmark though are still unbeaten in the group and although the Irish have disappointed, they could still have a big say in that final game in Denmark.
- Wales – If Wales beat Denmark then they win the group. If Wales draw with Denmark, then they need Denmark to lose or draw with the Republic of Ireland in their final game to win the group.
- Denmark – If Denmark beats Wales, then they top the group. If Denmark draws with Wales then they need to beat the Republic of Ireland to win the group. If Denmark loses to Wales and then loses to the Republic of Ireland, they would be relegated from the group.
- Republic of Ireland – Ireland need Wales to beat Denmark and then to beat Denmark themselves in order to avoid relegation from the group.
Tip 1 – Wales v Denmark – Draw
Tip 2 – Denmark v Republic of Ireland – Home Win
League C: Group 1
Final Group Games
- Matchday 5 – Albania v Scotland
- Matchday 6 – Scotland v Israel
Scotland were very poor in Israel last time out and went down to a sapping defeat but they have it in their own hands to recover. A point or more from the game with Albania would leave their fate in their own hands heading into the final group game with Israel on Tuesday.
- Scotland – If Scotland defeat or draw with Albania, then a victory over Israel would see them qualify from the group. If Scotland lose to Albania, then only a big victory over Israel would see them top the group and only if they lose to Albania by less than a 2-0 scoreline.
- Israel – If Israel can draw or win in Scotland, then they will finish top of the group.
- Albania – If Albania beat Scotland, they must do so by better than a 2-0 scoreline in order to be certain of avoiding relegation. A draw is no use to Albania as they would finish below Scotland on the head to head rule, even if the Scots then went on to lose to Israel in the final game.
Tip 1 – Albania v Scotland – Draw
Tip 2 – Scotland v Israel – Home Win