Group D1 consists of two island states with the Faroe Islands and Malta. Those two are accompanied by Andorra and Latvia, whose population of 1.92 million eclipses that of any other team in the group. This article will be predicting Group 1 of UEFA Nations League D.
Predicting Group 1 of UEFA Nations League D
Latvia, the Best Among the Worst
Believe it or not, Malta slightly outperformed Latvia in Euro 2020 qualifying, excluding matches played against sixth-placed teams. Albeit, it was with the smallest of margins possible. Latvia obtained the same amount of points but had a superior goal difference of +1. However, Malta’s sole win was against the Faroe Islands, whilst Latvia defeated Austria. Latvia are better than Malta, and any other team in the group, even though the Baltic side are historically weaker. They proved more in 2019 European Qualifiers and are ranked higher than any other team according to Elo Ratings.
Apart from their win against Austria, Vilki suffered a narrow 1-0 loss against Slovenia, and “only” lost 3-1 to Israel and North Macedonia. Not good, but better than what any Group D1 team could achieve, at least against stronger opponents. This disastrous qualifying campaign will shake them up real good and make them focused on making improvements heading into this Nations League season.
Malta and the Faroe Islands are Evenly Matched
Malta and the Faroe Islands were in the same Euro 2020 qualifying group. In it, they both obtained three points following wins against each other. Malta won 2-1 Ta’ Qali and the Faroe Islands won 1-0 Tórshavn. It’s worth pointing out that the Faroe Islands are ranked 18 places higher according to Elo ratings, but that’s far from a death sentence for Malta. Those rankings are not an exact science.
Relative to the strength of League D teams, Andorra was impressive in 2019 European Qualifiers. Defeating Moldova at home and securing an astounding 2-2 draw against Albania in Tirana. At that stadium, Albania defeated Iceland just two months prior. Also, Andorra suffered an unfortunate 1-0 loss against Turkey, following a late goal. Andorra proved more than Malta and the Faroe Islands in European Qualifiers. As a result, they should be marginally favoured over those two, but not Latvia.