Giants in the red as Nations League takes shape

The third edition of the UEFA Nations League has served some big surprises so far, and all indications are pointing to a few more surprises ahead. The big surprises have come in the topmost league, with each one of the four groups posting its fair share of surprise results.

It is hard to pick which one has so far been the bigger shock between England’s opening defeat to Hungary or France losing both home matches in their first four outings. Germany have also gone through tough times in Group A3, failing to win in the opening three matches, while Netherlands’ 4-1 win away in Belgium hasn’t sunk in properly yet.

One thing is for sure after the opening exchanges – France will not be able to defend their title. Meanwhile, England are still favorites to bounce back, having played three winless matches. Denmark have attracted good ratings and predictions on the Wincomparator website, but they have justified the same and remain among favorites to reach the final stages.

For France, a humiliating pathway stares, in the shape of relegation to League B. With all their star players and currently also being the world champions, Les Bleus will not want things to pan out this way. In the loss to Croatia on Match Day 4, the French had their best three available forwards – Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe and Christopher Nkunku all starting at home, but they failed to score. This should be a very big concern going to the 2022 World Cup, and manager Didier Deschamps doesn’t want to be handling psychological issues at this crucial period.

England are the other giants struggling to get a foot into the tournament and their only consolation is that the other teams haven’t done well either. They are still in contention for top spot despite going winless in three opening games. England goes to Match Day 4 bottom of Group A3 and from their performances so far, it is hard to imagine them surviving relegation. They play in a very tough pool and they still have to go to Italy, before facing Germany at home.

It is not like the Germans are on a flying run either. This competition has rarely been a favorite one for them. In 12 matches in the Nations League, they’ve managed just two wins, both against Ukraine, and with matches against Italy, Hungary and England, the road ahead isn’t very clear for Hansi Flick’s charges.

Another team that will be desperate to do well in this competition is Belgium. They managed to get to the final stages last season, but it has been shaky in their opening three matches so far. Their opening loss to the Dutch rekindled talk of their golden generation nearing the end with nothing to show and it is hard to argue against that. They don’t look to be in real danger of relegation, but at the minimum, with the talent at their disposal, Belgium should be finishing top in Group A4. 


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