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Inaugural UEFA Nations League Finals
England play Netherlands in Thursday's semi-final
- The inaugural UEFA Nations League Finals start on the 5th June 2019 with hosts Portugal playing Switzerland for a place in Sunday's final. The other semi-final includes England against Netherlands on 6th June.
All four teams won their League A groups. Portugal overcame Italy & Poland, Switzerland: Belgium & Iceland, Netherlands: France & Germany and England: Spain & Croatia.
England have an identical record against Netherlands, played 21, won 6, lost 6, and drawn 9 but this will be the first competitive match since Euro '96 when England ran out 4-1 winners.
The winners of each semi-final will play the final at 7:45pm on Sunday 9th June whilst the losers will contest the third place play-off at 2pm the same day.
- Posted: 5th June 2019 9:13am
England up to 4th and qualification almost certain
Currently ranked No 1 in UEFA final tournament draw
- England find themselves sitting pretty at the top of the pile after the first round of qualification games. They are currently ranked first in UEFA's final tournament seedings. Not that it matters too much as England already know they will be placed in Group D of the final draw should they qualify. However, staying in the top eight will be enough to avoid some of the other big hitters.
In other good news, England will move up one place to fourth in the latest FIFA World Rankings when they are published on 4th April. Two handsome wins against Czech Republic and Montenegro garnered 16 ranking points, which is enough to see them leapfrog Croatia, who surprisingly lost to Hungary over the weekend. England will remain some distance from third-placed Brazil, but the lead has narrowed slightly after the South American's could only manage a draw with Panama.
Our friends at www.football-rankings.info have run 10,000 simulations based on the first two games of Euro 2020 qualifiers and the chances of England's qualification has risen to an almost certain 99.62%. This is up from 92.25% before we started. Direct qualification (no play-off route) is 99.43% up from 87.4%. Belgium and France also have a >99% chance whilst Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland and Poland are >90%.
Wales currently have 73.5%, Northern Ireland 27.3% both slightly up but Scotland, after their humiliation in Kazakhstan have slipped to 41% down almost 20 points. They do have a luxury of an assured play-off spot, which is increasingly looking like the probably route they will have to take.
- Posted: 29th March 2019 4:19am
Montenegro v England Preview
Euro 2020 Qualifying Group A
- After a formidable 5-0 thrashing of the Czech Republic, England find themselves once again in Porgorica, to take on Macedonia - a city where they have yet to win from their previous visits. The last two visits - 2013 & 2011 - produced score draws after England scored first.
Jordon Henderson is expected to be handed his 50th cap whilst Callum Hudson-Odoi, his first start.
England don't play in the next two rounds, scheduled for June, as they will be appearing in the UEFA Nations League finals, so a win in Montenegro will be imperative if they don't want to be playing catch-up. Montenegro and Bulgaria will have played four times before England play the latter in September.
- Posted: 25th March 2019 7:29am
England v Czech Republic Preview
Euro 2020 Qualifying Group A
- Following on from a frenetic 2018, which saw 17 matches, England's leisurely spring calendar will cough up its only two fixtures on Friday and the following Monday with visits by Czech Republic and a trip to Montenegro respectively. In fact, Gareth Southgate and his boys only have a total of four games in the first eight months of 2019. Although, one of them could be the inaugural Nations League final in June. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Czechs and Montenegrins probably represent the toughest opponents in Euro 2020 qualifying group A as the Three Lions attempt to qualify by the easiest route of several open to them. A guaranteed playoff spot is the "get out of jail free" card should they fail to negotiate at least second in a group which also incudes Bulgaria and Kosovo.
The Czech's are currently 44th in FIFA's World Rankings and last played England in a friendly in August 2008 when a stoppage time Joe Cole goal saved Fabio Capello's blushes. As Czechoslovakia their last win against England was in 1975 when they prevailed 2-1 in Bratislava.
- Posted: 19th March 2019 4:57am
England well placed for Euro 2020 qualification
Simulations suggest 92% chance
- Our friends at www.football-rankings.info have recently run 10,000 simulations to determine the probability of qualification to Euro 2020. England have a 92.25% chance of making the final tounament with a 87.4% chance of qualifying directly and a 4.85% chance of making it via the playoffs. France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Portugal and Croatia also have a >90% of doing the same. The simulations were compiled using the complete match schedule of Euro 2020 qualifying including the play-offs in March 2020 for the last four spots.
- Posted: 12th December 2018 12:41pm