England favs for Nations League at last-four stage

Portugal are the European champions while Holland qualified for the Nations League finals from a group including the last two World Cup winners France and Germany, yet England are favourites to come out on top of both formidable rivals plus surprise packages Switzerland in June.

Gareth Southgate's Three Lions are 15-8 to win the inaugural tournament ahead of 9-4 Portugal and 100-30 Holland, although the odds are sure to shift following the semi-final draw in Dublin on December 3. The Swiss, 5-1 tournament outsiders, will be the name all three nations want to draw.

Portugal will host the semis and final next summer and qualified with a game to go, but all the other protagonists needed remarkable turnarounds in their final matches to get there.

England scored twice in the last 12 minutes to seal a comeback against Croatia, Holland scored twice in the last five to get the point they needed against Germany, while Switzerland were 2-0 down to Belgium inside 20 but came away with a remarkable 5-2 success.

Ireland, who were already in line for relegation to League C of the four-tier competition, ended their disappointing campaign with a 0-0 draw against Denmark on Monday.

"We were strong defensively and will try to be a bit more creative going forward," said manager Martin O'Neill after the clean sheet.

Match in Focus


Aston Villa v Derby

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • Tammy Abraham has scored in five of his last seven starts for Aston Villa.
Expert verdict
Aston Villa have lost just two of their last 15 matches and valid excuses can be made for both defeats. Dean Smith made wholesale changes with the playoffs in mind for their 2-1 loss to champions Norwich on the final day, while they lost the second leg of semi-final at West Brom despite having 73 per cent possession and winning the shot count 24 to ten. They are full of confidence and should be more determined than ever after last season’s playoff final heartbreak.



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