A mix of international friendlies and UEFA Nations League fixtures to keep an eye on this weekend. Gareth Southgate's England return to Wembley after a morale-boosting World Cup run in the summer, and I think they have what it takes to get past a Spain side who will be playing their first match under new manager Luis Enrique.

 

Wales v ROI 

As well as the opening game in the new-look Nations League B, this is the first game in charge of Wales on home soil for Ryan Giggs and the first meeting of the sides since the Republic ended Wales’ World Cup qualification hopes back in October. I would be surprised if we saw a goal-fest although Welsh talisman Gareth Bale has scored in all three La Liga fixtures so far this season for Real Madrid. Denmark are the third nation in this mini-league and it should be noted that the four league B winners will automatically be promoted to the top division with the bottom side relegated. I’m not convinced the implications of these Nations League fixtures will be apparent to us all for some time yet although I hope the initiative takes off as we do need a competitive edge to these friendlies between major tournaments. Tip: Under 2.5 goals at  

Scotland v Belgium 

Scotland entertain Belgium at Hampden in an international friendly on Friday before they entertain Albania in their opening Nations League C fixture on Monday evening. Nations League I’m delighted to see Liverpool’s Andy Robertson named as Scotland captain after what has been a terrific 12 months for the Reds’ full back. That said Belgium had an excellent World Cup finishing third and have a vast array of attacking talent although I must admit to being slightly surprised to see Christian Benteke back in the squad. Let’s hope this is the filip the Palace striker needs to get back to his best. Tip: Belgium halftime/fulltime at  

England v Spain 

England’s defenders will be pleased to hear that Diego Costa will miss Spain’s Nations League fixture on Saturday for personal reasons, but Spain will still provide a big test for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions. Nations League That said I think it is a test that England will pass in what I hope will be an informative and entertaining game with the Wembley crowd sure to show their appreciation of their World Cup performances. Tip: England to win and both teams to score at 
Odds are correct at the time of posting

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