Nations League: Croatia Could Make England Suffer Again

The second international break of the season and a number of UEFA Nations League games to look forward to. Once again Brand Ambassador Michael Owen shared his thoughts exclusively with BetVictor on several of the key fixtures including Thursday’s friendly between Wales and Spain

Wales v Spain 0-1

It looks as if Gareth Bale will miss the friendly – against many of his Real Madrid teammates – having been substituted in the last 10 minutes of the Whites 1-0 defeat at Alaves at the weekend.

Spain showed what a good side they were at Wembley last month and they can edge out a Welsh side who put four past Ireland in Cardiff last month before losing out to an improved Denmark side last month.

Spain boss Luis Enrique could give a first cap to Wolves defender Jonny Otto who has been quite outstanding for the Molineux outfit so far this season.

Tip: Spain to win to nil 11/10

Israel v Scotland 2-0

Scotland have won all three previous internationals between the nations, but the Scots have lost their last couple of games on the road without scoring and I think they will struggle in Haifa.

Scotland played well when beating Albania at Hampden in their first Nations League game, but I’m not yet convinced Alex McLeish’s side can transfer that home form on the road.

I know Israel lost both their internationals away from home last month, but I feel they will be a different proposition back on home soil and I feel they will keep the points.

Tip: Israel to win  31/20

Croatia v England 2-1

A repeat of this summer’s World Cup semi-final which Croatia, regrettably, won in extra-time in Moscow. Since that success Croatia have failed to win in their last three internationals and were thumped 6-0 by Spain last month, but I feel they will bounce back in an empty Rijeka on Friday night.

This will be Croatia’s first home game since the World Cup, but it will be played behind closed doors as Croatia were given a two-game stadium ban by UEFA back in 2015. This is the second game of that ban as they have not had a home game in a UEFA – rather than FIFA – competition since October 2015.

Harry Kane was on fire at the beginning of the World Cup in Russia, but the Three Lions skipper has failed to score in his last five internationals. I hope the striker can find the back of the Croatia net but feel the hosts will just edge a tie which will be played in eerie silence.

Tip: Croatia to win 13/8

Ireland v Denmark 1-1

Denmark put five past Ireland when the sides last met in Dublin back in November in the second leg of their World Cup play-off, but I expect to see a much tighter contest at the weekend.

It must be a worry for Martin O’Neill that his side have not had more than three shots on target in any of their last 10 internationals, but I do feel they can pick up their first Nations League point against the Danes.

Tip: Game to finish in a draw 21/10

*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article

Michael Owen


BetVictor's Brand Ambassador

Michael Owen is a former football player, played striker for Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Manchester United. He has represented the England national team at three World Cups and after his goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup was voted the 2nd best goal of the 20th century, he was awarded BBC Sports Personality of the Year. He is the last Englishman to win the Ballon d'Or, receiving the honor in 2001.

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