With just two games to go for England in the Nations League, we look at what’s still on the table for Gareth Southgate’s side.
Over the next week, Gareth Southgate’s side play their final two games before the World Cup starts in November, with Italy and Germany waiting in the Nations League. Can they qualify for the Nations League finals? Or is relegation the more likely outcome?
Can England qualify for the Nations League finals?
England haven’t had a good Nations League campaign and remain in real danger of relegation from League A to League B, with no chance of qualifying for next year’s finals.
They have collected a dismal two points from four games in League A Group 3 and were most recently beaten 4-0 at home by Hungary - England’s biggest home defeat in 94 years. Their fate can be decided on Friday evening when they visit Italy; if they lose they’re relegated.
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However, should England win against Italy in the San Siro they would leapfrog the Azzurri in the table on head-to-head and go into the Germany game with a better chance of finishing ahead of Roberto Mancini’s side.
Should they draw with Italy, they would remain bottom of the league on three points and needing a favour from Hungary in the final game to avoid relegation.
If England can beat Italy then beat Germany, the highest they can finish is still 2nd. That’s because every possible outcome in the Germany vs Hungary match would take top spot out of Gareth Southgate side’s reach.
A more likely scenario, should England beat Italy in the San Siro, would be Germany beating Hungary to go top of League A Group 3.
Should England go back-to-back with win against the Germans at Wembley they would be safe from relegation, while Italy would have to beat Hungary to avoid dropping into League B.
However, If England win against Italy, then draw to Germany, they would still face the drop should Italy secure a win against Hungary in their final game.
How will the rest of the groups pan out?
The four group winners in League A advance to the finals in June 2023. The four teams occupying those all-important top spots as things stand are Denmark, Spain, Hungary and the Netherlands but with two fixtures remaining these are subject to change.
Inaugural competition winners Portugal, for example, are still in with a big chance of reaching the finals (11/8 to win Group 2). They sit behind Spain (Evens) by just one point and they play on the final game of the group stages. That will be one to keep an eye on.
Elsewhere reigning champions France, like England, have obtained only two points from four games and cannot qualify for the finals. However, they have a good chance of catching Austria in Group 1 (four points), who they place on Thursday night.
As the group games come to an end, Group 4 leaders Netherlands are the 7/2 favourites to win the Nations League outright. Germany, who sit in 2nd in England’s group, are second favourites at a current best price of 9/2. Italy (10/1) and Hungary (50/1) are longer odds chances to win the whole thing should they emerge from England’s group.
How will the leagues change?
The group winners in the other three leagues (B, C & D) will all be promoted for the 2024/25 edition. With games still to play there are surely going to be changes but as it stands:
- Ukraine, Israel, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Norway will be promoted to League A
- Turkey, Greece, Kazakhstan and Georgia will be promoted to League B
- Latvia and Estonia will be promoted to League C
The teams finishing fourth in the groups in Leagues A and B will be relegated.
As it stands, the following face the drop.
- France, Switzerland, England and Wales will be relegated to League B
- Armenia, Russia*, Romania and Slovenia will be relegated to League C
- The four bottom teams in League C will enter a play-off, with the two losing teams being relegated to League D. Those teams are currently Lithuania, Cyprus, Belarus and Gibraltar.
Nations League 2022/23 Winner Odds:
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