It is time to make some UEFA Nations League Finals Predictions, with the tournament swiftly approaching. Hosts Italy will compete for the title along with Spain, Belgium, and France.
2021 UEFA Nations League Finals Predictions: Azzurri Will Triumph
Italy Indisputable Favorites
The first semi-final is a replay of one at the Euros, where Italy won on penalties. This time the Azzurri even have home advantage, so a win seems probable. It’s worth noting that Italy dropped points at home against Bulgaria in World Cup qualifying, but Spain lost away against Sweden. Italy and Spain are on a similar level, but as reigning European champions on home soil, Italy have to be regarded as favourites.
Penalty Prowess Gives Belgium a Slight Edge
Belgium and France last met in the 2018 World Cup semi-final, where Le Bleus won 1-0 in an encounter that could’ve gone either way. They both had disappointing Euro campaigns, even though losing to eventual champions Italy is significantly more forgivable than failing to beat Switzerland as the reigning world champion. Belgium’s start to World Cup qualifying has been better, but France’s group is a bit tougher and they have a tendency to just do what it takes to succeed rather than score several goals and win every match. Belgium and France are about evenly matched, but they’re good in different ways. These factors make a deadlock the most probable outcome. Belgium has a better penalty conversion rate and should be favoured in a hypothetical shootout on those grounds.
France to Finish Third
Before predicting the final, the third-place play-off cannot be neglected. France is definitely stronger than Spain on paper, but their match history indicates that a close encounter is likely. Spain has recently failed to beat Sweden, Switzerland and Poland in 90 minutes. Also, they just narrowly squeezed past Georgia in World Cup qualifying. But at the same time, France couldn’t beat Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina, not to mention Switzerland eliminated them from the Euros. A draw is the most probable outcome. The third-place play-off will not have extra time, so it will go straight to penalties. France has a better penalty conversion rate and should be favoured in a shootout on those grounds.
Italy to Expand Their Trophy Cabinet With Nations League Title
This hypothetical final would be a replay of a Euro 2020 quarter-final. One that Italy won 2-1 on neutral soil. This time the Azzurri even has the home advantage so they should be favoured over Belgium. Despite the impressive amount of prolific goalscorers in both squads, that doesn’t guarantee that many goals will be scored. Part of the reason is that it’s a final, meaning the players will be more nervous and choke on opportunities they normally wouldn’t. Be less willing to take risks, resulting in safe and quite boring football, or at least football that doesn’t result in many goals. Nonetheless, hosts and reigning European champions Italy should eventually find the winning goal.