Ball Keeps Rolling
So … bad news for all you soccer betting enthusiasts. Club action in Europe is officially over and won’t be back until early August. However, we also have good news. The 2022-23 edition of the UEFA Nations League kicks off on Wednesday.
After winning the 2020-21 edition, France will try to become the first back-to-back champion. Les Bleus won’t have it easy, though. Winning this competition is becoming more and more attractive. The prize money is very good. Plus, it could provide benefits for other tournaments.
As usual, we’ll have a deep analysis of the most striking games, but first, we wanted to give you more context. Let’s check the format, groups, favorites to go all the way, and more.
What’s the UEFA Nations League?
Basically, friendly matches began to lose appeal. The fans didn’t care and the sponsors didn’t invest much. When things hit rock bottom, UEFA came up with the Nations League. All games are scheduled on dates that FIFA stipulated for friendly matches, so no extra work for anybody.
The most important aspect is that every team will always face an opponent of the same caliber. In other words, all matches end up being interesting.
What’s at Stake for the Nations League Champion?
First of all, the champion of the UEFA Nations League wins a lot of money. Last time, France won €10.5 million. The difference with the runner-up is €1.5 million. All teams earn money, but as usual, going all the way means a lot more money.
Second of all, the winner could benefit from the EURO and the World Cup qualifiers. For example, France and Spain, the two finalists of the last edition, will be in a five-team group on the road to the 2026 World Cup. Other groups are made up of six teams, so there’s more risk. They also got a ticket for the 2022 World Cup playoff. Both ended up qualifying directly, but it’s nice to have a safety net, right?
UEFA is still analyzing the benefits for the next two finalists, but things won’t change much.
The UEFA Nations League has four sub-leagues. League A includes la crème de la crème, while League D includes the worst teams. Each sub-league has four groups, except for Group D (two). The winner of each group advances to the semifinals.
Winning League B grants a ticket for League A. The winners of League C and D also get promoted to the next. On the other hand, the teams at the bottom of each League, lose the category.
Groups & Favorites
- League A:
As defending champ, France is expected to make a deep run. Plus, all the superstars agreed to play, including Karim Benzema, whose season ended last Saturday. France’s roster also includes Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, N’Golo Kante, and Christopher Nkunku. We’re basically talking about a dream team.
Clearly, Group 3 is the Group of Death. The winner of that group will become the betting online favorite to win it all. After not qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, Italy is expected to go all-in right from the start.
Belgium’s golden generation is running out of time. It’s crazy that Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, and Kevin De Bruyne haven’t been able to lead the national team to the promised land.
Last, but not least, the Netherlands is a very tempting online gambling dark horse. With Virgil van Dijk, Frenkie de Jong, and Memphis Depay leading the way, this is a very explosive team. It’s been a long time since the Netherlands won something. This is the perfect opportunity to rewrite history.
- League B:
- Group 1: Ukraine, Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Armenia
- Group 2: Iceland, Russia, Israel, Albania
- Group 3: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Romania, Montenegro
- Group 4: Sweden, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia
Sweden is the clear favorite to win League B. Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t be available for the first two matches, but Emil Forsberg, Alexander Isak, and Anthony Elanga are more than capable to lead the team to the top.
If you were looking for an underdog to include in your soccer picks, Scotland is a very tempting option. After reaching the UEFA Europa League Final, the Rangers became the base of the national team. Chemistry can make a huge difference in tournaments like this.
- League C:
Keep an eye on North Macedonia, the team that eliminated Italy in the World Cup qualifiers. Turkey, Bulgaria, and Greece are also good candidates to go all the way.
Of all these teams, Andorra was the only team that won two games on the road to Qatar in 2022. On the other hand, San Marino was the only one that finished 0-0-10.