The UEFA Nations League has shaken up the often monotonous routine of international football, with the line-up for the second finals of the tournament having been confirmed during November’s international break.
Portugal were the inaugural winners of the competition last year after defeating the Netherlands in the final, though none of the previous four finalists have made it through to next year’s conclusion.
The rescheduled finals will take place next October, and we’ve decided to look at how the bookmaker’s view the chances of the final four sides.
So for those of you who like to keep up to date with the best betting offers from sites like Statesidebets.com, here are the five favourites to win the UEFA Nations League.
Italy – 3/1
Italy will feature in next year’s finals after qualifying as winners of Group A1, with Roberto Mancini’s side having gone unbeaten in six fixtures to finish just a single point ahead of the Netherlands.
Their qualification marks a welcome resurgence for the Azzurri following their failure to qualify for the World Cup two years ago, dropping to their lowest ever world ranking of 21st before bouncing back in style under Mancini.
Italy have also qualified for next summer’s European Championships with a 100% record from 10 fixtures, though remain outsiders for the Nations League at odds of 3/1.
The Italians perhaps lack the star power of yesteryear but possess exciting attacking options in the likes of Lorenzo Insigne, Andrea Belotti and Ciro Immobile – the latter having become the first player in more than a decade outside of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to win the European Golden Shoe outright last season.
Concerns remain over an ageing centre-back pairing with Georgio Chiellini set to turn 37 before next year’s finals and it remains to be seen whether the defensive stalwart remains a fixture in the side.
Spain – 5/2
Spain qualified in truly stunning style for next year’s finals after inflicting Germany’s heaviest-ever competitive defeat during November’s international break, their 6-0 thrashing seeing them leapfrog the Germans to take top spot in a group also containing Ukraine and Switzerland.
The Spanish have struggled to impose themselves on tournaments in recent years but there is a quiet optimism surrounding Luis Enrique’s side ahead of a huge year of international football, a side possessing a fine mix of youthful talent and trophy-winning senior stars.
The likes of Sergio Ramos and Sergio Busquets – key figures in an era of dominance that saw Spain win an unprecedented three major tournaments in succession between 2008 and 2012 – remain, whilst the exciting additions of Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati add pace and purpose further forward.
Few are loudly championing the Spain cause for success at either next summer’s Euros or the Nations League, though their humbling of Germany was a reminder of the huge talent pool in Spanish football and the significant threat they pose.
Belgium – 5/2
Belgium’s golden generation remain in search of elusive silverware and have a strong chance of ending their wait next year, with Roberto Martinez’s side currently ranked as the number one side in international football.
Belgium cruised into the Nations League finals after winning five of their six group fixtures, a defeat to England the only blemish on an otherwise perfect record.
Martinez’s side have also qualified for the European Championships in flawless fashion and remarkably averaged four goals per game across their 10 fixtures, finishing as the leading scorers in Europe and outlining the quality within their ranks.
Eden Hazard will captain the side into competition next year and the Real Madrid winger is ably assisted by a stellar supporting cast including Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Thibaut Courtois, their squad amongst the most impressive in world football and one primed for an assault on next year’s Nations League.
France – 9/4
The world champions are slight favourites to add the Nations League to their World Cup crown won in 2018, having navigated their group to qualify for next year’s four-team finals in convincing fashion.
Didier Deschamps’ side won five and drew one of their six fixtures despite facing both reigning European champions Portugal and World Cup finalist Croatia in a difficult-looking group, and start as favourites to enjoy another year of success in 2021.
A squad stacked with talent and depth is headlined by Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe, who can count illustrious names in Antoine Griezmann, Raphael Varane and N’Golo Kante amongst his teammates for Les Bleus.
France were hugely impressive during that triumphant World Cup campaign in Russia and will start as favourites ahead of an eagerly anticipated Nations League finals.