Georgia’s 2-0 win in Kazakhstan on Thursday kicked off the inaugural UEFA Nations League, with a tantalizing Germany vs. France match-up also on the docket.
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How might the new tournament go? Here are some predictions.
3. Netherlands (relegated to League B)
— France goes to Germany later Thursday, and a win for the hosts would turn this on its head. However, if the World Cup champions get a win and then beat the Netherlands on Sept. 9, France would essentially be printing its playoff tickets.
3. Iceland (relegated to League B)
— It would be surprising if anyone besides the Red Devils emerged as Group 2 winners, though a loss in Iceland on Tuesday would open things up.
3. Portugal (relegated to League B)
— This could go in the direction of any of the combatants, but Italy’s hunger to make a positive impression after the embarrassment of failing to qualify for World Cup should be the extra motivation it needs to move to the final four.
3. England (relegated to League B)
— Talk about a nightmare for all three teams, but we’ll peg Spain to be more settled than they were when their federation ousted Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup
Nations League Playoffs
Semis: Italy beats Spain, France beats Belgium
Final: France beats Italy
BONUS: League B, C, D promoted teams
B: Czech Republic, Turkey Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark.
C: Scotland, Hungary, Norway, Serbia
D: Georgia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia