England face Switzerland at the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques, Portugal on Sunday afternoon in a battle to finish third in the UEFA Nations League competition. The match will be screened live around the world from 2.00pm GMT as Gareth Southgate’s side aim to build on their fourth-place finish at the World Cup last time. A bronze medal here would show fans the side are heading in the right direction, while pushing them towards the front of the pack in the Euro 2020 betting.
Football followers didn’t quite know what to make of the Nations League when it was first announced, with many choosing to ignore the early fixtures. It ranked as little more than an extra chance for some of the smaller nations to bag another crack at qualifying for the European Championships next year but, on reflection, it has proven a worthwhile addition to the schedule.
Things got interesting at the semi-final stage, with Portugal eliminating Switzerland to bank a place in the final, before Holland battled past England on Thursday night. That set-up a mouth-watering Portugal v Holland decider, leaving the Swiss and English to battle over a consolation prize. Bookmakers have had their say on both matches and punters will find England priced as 21/20 favourites at William Hill, Switzerland 7/2 through Ladbrokes and the draw 11/4 (bet365).
Dutch Have the Courage to See off England
Gareth Southgate’s side were tipped to beat Holland in a glamour semi-final in midweek, but the Three Lions came up short in Portugal, with a woeful defensive showing handing the Dutch a stunning 3-1 win. The match swung back-and-forth during the course of the evening and it was the beaten side who took the lead on 32 minutes. Rashford struck home a penalty midway through the first half after the Man Utd striker was hauled down in the box by Matthijs de Ligt. They took that advantage into the break, making Southgate’s team talk at the interval easier, but those in the dressing room failed to heed the warnings issued by their manager.
A second-half fightback was expected from this talented Dutch side and that’s just what we got. It took until the 73rd minute for Oranje to find a way back into the contest but they did get level on 73 minutes thanks to de Ligt. With the scores locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes, we went into extra-time and it was Holland who were to show their superior fitness. Walker suffered the embarrassment of an own-goal on 97 and Promes made sure, giving his teammates a two-goal advantage with the clock showing 114 minutes. It had been a long season for the English players, and it showed.
Ronaldo’s One Man Show
Switzerland suffered a similar fate at the hands of the mighty Portugal 24 hours earlier when ending on the wrong side of another 3-1 result. The scoreline may have been the same but the victory was a more convincing one for the Portuguese who got the job done without the need for extra-time. A 3-1 score would suggest an easy night’s work for the victors but, on closer inspection, we see that just wasn’t the case. Switzerland went down fighting. Cristiano Ronaldo – who else? – bagged the opening goal of the game on 25 minutes to send his side in 1-0 up at the break. The Juventus man didn’t look to be in his best form, but even on an off day he’s a world class operator.
Switzerland remained competitive and got themselves level thanks to a goal from Rodriguez just before the hour mark. There wasn’t an awful lot between the rivals – as the Portugal 45%-55% Switzerland possession stats prove – but when games are tight you need a man to step up and take charge. No prizes for guessing who that player was. CR7 got his second goal of the match on 88 and completed his hat-trick with 90 minutes on the clock. A stunning show from Ronaldo and one his manager labelled “genius”.
England Dominate Switzerland in the Head-to-Head
Both semi-final matches produced four goals each and neutrals tuning into the live action on Sunday will be hoping for another free-scoring match. Over 2.5 goals in the game has been chalked up at 4/5 by William Hill and that’s sure to be popular in weekend accumulators. Both teams to score is another that’ll give backers a run for their money and 4/6 with Ladbrokes, best suited to multiples. We’ve already seen signs of fatigue in both camps and, at this stage of the summer, it’s likely both managers will make changes.
England have dominated Switzerland over the years, with the head-to-head scores sitting at 16-3 and five draws. The Three Lions have won each of their last three meetings with the Swiss and look value to make it four. Many respected betting firms are offering 8/11 on England, so the fact there’s 21/20 available at William Hill makes it a bet worth having. Back enough odds on shots at odds against and you’re sure to make a profit over the course of a year.