Football fans are excited to see their international stars back in action.
With the UEFA Euros being pushed to 2021 due to the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic, international football is all set to make its return with the UEFA Nations League.
The 2020-2021 league campaign saw the emergence of a number of top talents around the world. The likes of Mason Greenwood and Eduardo Camavinga will be earning their first caps for their countries in the Nations League.
We at Khel Now, take you through the top 10 games to look forward to from the first round of matches in the competition:
10. Iceland Vs England
In a repeat of one of the English football side’s most embarrassing moments from 2016, the plucky Icelanders line up against the Three Lions once more in the first round of the Nations league. However, the last four seasons have seen England undergo a complete metamorphosis. An injection of young, world-class talent has made the team a force to be reckoned with once more.
The match against Iceland would be the perfect opportunity to make a statement and continue the resurgence of the national team.
9. Netherlands Vs Poland
With the departure of Ronald Koeman from the Dutch national setup, Dwight Lodeweges will act as caretaker for the first round of the Nations League. The game against Poland will no doubt be touted as a battle between the world’s best attacker, in Robert Lewandowski and arguably the world’s best defender, in Virgil van Djik.
Lewandowski finished the domestic campaign winning the treble with Bayern Munich and scoring a mammoth 54 goals in the process.
8. Sweden Vs France
The game between France and Sweden represents a clash between two footballing superpowers. The French camp however, are suffering from an outbreak of COVID-19, with Paul Pogba and Tanguay N’Dombele dropping out after testing positive for the virus. This however, has opened the door for the exciting 17-year-old Euardo Camavinga to earn his first call-up to the senior side.
The Swedes have one of the toughest starts to the Nations League campaign, having to face France and Portugal in their opening games.
7. Sweden Vs Portugal
Sweden’s next game in the competition will be against the reigning champions of the UEFA Nations League, Portugal. The Portuguese side is littered with stars, with the likes of Cristano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva leading the way.
The last meeting of the two sides was back in 2017, when Sweden took the victory in a five-goal thriller.
6. Denmark Vs England
The Danes find themselves in the daunting Group 2 of League A of the UEFA Nations League, along with England, Belgium and Iceland. However, the Danish side will come into the tournament with a degree of confidence.
The likes of Christian Eriksen, Yusseff Poulsen and Kasper Schmichel will fall back on their bags of experience against what is a talented, but admittedly very inexperienced English side.
5. Denmark Vs Belgium
Denmark face the mighty Belgium in their opening match of the UEFA Nations league in Group 2. The Belgians have emerged as a true superpower in international football in recent years, with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and the Hazard brothers strutting their stuff.
It will have to be an monumental effort from the Danes, if they are to keep Kevin De Bruyne and Co. quiet for 90 minutes.
4. Portugal Vs Croatia
In what will be the only game in the first round of the UEFA Nations league in which two former Ballon d’Or winners will go head-to-head with one another, the Portugal will lineup against Croatia. Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric, both fantastic players in their own right, will both be desperate to get one over on the other.
The game promises to be an enthralling one, featuring two of the most evenly-matched sides in the competition.
3. France Vs Croatia
In a replay of the 2018 World Cup final, France take on Croatia in their second matchup in Group 3 in League A of the Nations League. The likes of Ivan Perisic, Ante Rebic and Modric will be desperate to get one over the French.
However, the Frenchmen are no pushovers. With the likes of Anthony Martial, Kylian M’bappe and Houssem Aouar in the French attack, the Croats are going to have their work cut out.
2) Netherlands Vs Italy
Roberto Mancini’s Italian side are on quite a run, having gone unbeaten for almost two years. Ciro Immobile is in red-hot form after a record goalscoring season with Lazio. The Italian forward will be looking to carry his stellar form onto the next campaign and into the Nations League.
The Dutch side’s goalscoring responsibilities will fall on the likes of Memphis Depay, who started the new league term with a hat-trick for Lyon.
1) Germany vs Spain:
In a clash of two of the real historical superpowers in football, Germany take on Spain in their first game of Group 4 in the Nations League. Much like England, the German side are experiencing an influx of highly-talented youngsters. The likes of Leon Goretzka, Kai Havertz and Serge Gnabry will be raring to go for their national side.
The Spaniards have been prolific in recent games, scoring 12 goals in their last two games. The game promises to be a treat for the neutral, as two sides that are in transition face-off against each another.