International Football Tips: Key friendlies, Euro 2020 and Nations League

England welcome the Republic of Ireland to Wembley on Thursday for a friendly that will be the first time the teams have met since 2015.

Last time out the sides shared a 0-0 in Dublin and their most recent Wembley meeting, in 2013, ended 1-1, but a third consecutive draw is 5.24/1 on the Exchange.

That is, in part, down to England’s excellent record in Wembley friendlies under Gareth Southgate. They’ve never lost one, although they were defeated last time out at home to Denmark in the Nations League.

Southgate’s men face a tough Nations League assignment on Sunday when they go to Belgium.

England beat Roberto Martinez’s world number one-ranked side (the Three Lions are fourth) last month in London but the Belgians are the early favourites to win there.

The following Wednesday, England are scheduled to host Iceland in their third and final match of the international break.

Wales face three matches without Giggs

Wales host USA in a friendly on Thursday – the first of three home matches in this international break that they’ll play without their manager Ryan Giggs.

After that, the Dragons take on the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League. The teams drew 0-0 last month but the return of Gareth Bale should give the hosts more confidence that they can break down the Irish defence.

Gareth Bale celebrates goal 1280.jpg

The Welsh are difficult to beat and mean at the back. They have lost just one of their last 11 games in all competitions, conceding in just one of their last seven matches (a 3-0 defeat to England).

The round of this international break at home to Finland in the Nations League on Wednesday 18 November.

Can Scotland and Northern Ireland qualify for Euro 2020?

The biggest matches of the international break involve two home nations trying to qualify for next summer’s Euro 2020 finals.

On Thursday, Scotland will seek to book their place in a major international tournament for the first time since 1998. They go to Serbia for a winner-takes-all qualification final before facing Slovakia and Israel on Sunday and Wednesday respectively in the Nations League.

Northern Ireland have their qualification final the same night at home to Slovakia. NI appeared at the last Euros, in France in 2016, and are odds-against favourites to get the job done on Wednesday. After that, they’ll play Austria and Romania in the Nations League.

Georgia v North Macedonia and Hungary v Iceland are the other Euro 2020 qualification finals. Both matches take place on Thursday.

Best of the rest…

The international matches begin on Wednesday, with Germany v Czech Republic and Netherlands v Spain arguably the pick that night.

Poland v Ukraine and Greece v Cyprus are two tasty-looking derbies, though, while Denmark v Sweden is also scheduled for Wednesday.

In the Nations League, it’s World Champions v European Champions when France and Portugal meet in Paris.

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