Predicting Group 3 of UEFA Nations League B

Group B3 consists of Turkey, who sensationally defeated France in 2020 Euro, qualifying despite finishing behind Les Bleus in the end. Hungary, who were promoted from 2018/19 UEFA Nations League C, can also be found in this group. Alongside those two are Serbia and Russia, the only teams of the group that played at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. This article will be predicting Group 3 of UEFA Nations League B. 

Predicting Group 3 of UEFA Nations League B

Competition Too Tough for Hungary

Hungary finished fourth in European Qualifiers, obtaining the least amount of points out of any other team in Group B3. It was a competitive group with close margins, featuring Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, and Azerbaijan. In defence of Hungary, they secured impressive home wins against Croatia and Wales. Nonetheless, a better performance would be required for the Magyars to be favoured in this Nations League group. 

Serbia Have Been Disappointing

Serbia finished third in their Euro 2020 qualifying group, behind Ukraine and Portugal – the former of which demolished Orlovi 5-0 in Kiev. Also, the Serbs could only manage a 2-2 draw against the Ukrainians in Belgrade – a Ukraine side that had already guaranteed qualification and didn’t have anything to play for. Furthermore, despite defeating Luxembourg 3-1 away, Orlovi scraped past them 3-2 at home. Although Serbia have the capacity to trump Hungary, their chances against Russia and Turkey are comparably bleak. Especially when you take into consideration the fact that both Sbornaya and Ay-Yıldızlılar obtained more points in European Qualifiers.

Turkey Have Proven More Than Russia in Recent Times

Considering Russia’s performance at the 2018 World Cup, claiming that Turkey has proven more against stronger teams might seem like a rather bizarre notion. But, it becomes more reasonable as one realises the World Cup was over two years ago. Recency bias may be at play here when it comes to Russia.

In European Qualifiers, Turkey defeated reigning world champions France 2-0 at home and held them to a 1-1 draw in Paris. Meanwhile, Russia lost 3-1 away to Belgium and were outclassed 4-1 by the Red Devils in Saint Petersburg. The 2018/19 Nations League season gives the Russians some reasons to be optimistic, though – they defeated the Turks home and away. But that was almost two years ago, and Turkey’s performances in European Qualifiers show they have improved.

The factor that solidifies Turkey as being marginally better than Russia is their superior defensive record. Marginally to the point of it being microscopic, but a margin that exists nonetheless. Ay-Yıldızlılar conceded just three goals in Euro qualifying whereas Sbornaya conceded eight.

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