Sports Mole provides score predictions and previews for all of today’s Nations League fixtures, including Spain vs. Portugal.
The hosts will be looking to claim their third successive victory on home soil, while the visitors are hoping to avoid a fifth successive defeat on the road.
We say: Georgia 3-0 Gibraltar
Considering there are 118 places separating Georgia (85th) and Gibraltar (203rd) in the FIFA world rankings, the hosts will be regarded as the favourites for Thursday’s contest.
Georgia have comfortably beaten Gibraltar in their previous four encounters against them and they should have no problems in securing victory in Tbilisi.
The hosts have won each of their last three matches on home soil, scoring seven goals during this period, while the visitors have only lost one of their last five games on the road, scoring 12 goals in the process.
We say: Bulgaria 1-2 North Macedonia
Each of the previous four meetings between Bulgaria and North Macedonia have been closely-fought encounters and another could be on the cards on Thursday.
However, considering the visitors have impressed against European giants Italy and Portugal in recent months, we can see them edging this contest in Razgrad.
The two nations, who will be facing each other for the very first time, are separated by just two places in the FIFA world rankings, with Cyprus positioned in 105th while Kosovo are ranked 107th.
We say: Cyprus 1-2 Kosovo
Both sides will view this fixture as a winnable game, but we can see the visitors edging this encounter in Larnaca.
The two countries find themselves in group two of League D alongside Malta and will be vying to get off to a winning start.
We say: Estonia 3-0 San Marino
Estonia come into the new Nations League campaign in a disappointing run of form, but they still have more than enough to comfortably beat the European minnows who often ship goals and struggle at the other end of the pitch.
Following promotion to Europe’s top tier in their previous campaign, Czech Republic take on World Cup finalists Switzerland in their opening UEFA Nations League fixture on Thursday.
The teams convene in Prague at the start of a busy June schedule, with the hosts targeting a fast start in League A Group B, and their visitors preparing to compete on the global stage later this year.
We say: Czech Republic 0-1 Switzerland
Lacking some craft and quality in the absence of both Barak and Schick, the Czechs are not best equipped to take the step-up in class at the moment, and may find adjusting to life in League A particularly challenging.
Now acknowledged as one of Europe’s top footballing nations, Switzerland can therefore make their better attacking options pay – getting their latest Nations League campaign off to a successful start.
Spain and Portugal will open their 2022-23 UEFA Nations League campaigns with a glamour fixture at Estadio Benito Villamarin in Seville on Thursday night.
The two sides have been drawn into League A Group 2 with the Czech Republic and Switzerland, and both will play four times in the competition in the early stages of June.
We say: Spain 1-1 Portugal
This has all of the makings of a brilliant game of football, and it will be interesting to see how both sides are shaping up ahead of the World Cup. It would not be a surprise to see a home or an away win here, but we have a feeling that a tight fixture could end with the points being shared.
We say: Serbia 2-1 Norway
Serbia have not lost at home since the end of 2020, and given the competition for places ahead of an exciting winter in the Middle East, they should perform near their best on Thursday.
While Norway’s current crop is surely their most able in decades, few teams dictate terms to the hosts in Belgrade, so the visitors’ Nations League campaign could be set for an opening-day loss.
Sweden head into their first UEFA Nations League fixture with Slovenia looking to bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on a place at the World Cup.
The same applies to Slovenia, although the home side missed out on a place in the playoffs and have not played competitively since November.
We say: Slovenia 1-2 Sweden
This has all the makings of being a competitive fixture, particularly due to Slovenia possessing home advantage. However, Sweden need to kick-start their next cycle with victory in a tough group, leading us to predict a narrow win for the visitors.
While the home side managed to retain their position in League B Group 2 last time out, Iceland lost all six of their fixtures in League A Group 2.
We say: Israel 3-1 Iceland
Despite Iceland having been involved in the top tier of this competition more recently, they have a battle on their hands to avoid finishing bottom of this three-nation group. This represents a tough start to their campaign, and we are expecting Israel to record a relatively comfortable win.
Northern Ireland begin life in League C Group 2 of the UEFA Nations League with a home fixture against Greece on Thursday.
The visitors only narrowly missed out on promotion during the last campaign, and both nations will be wanting to make a fast start in a group which they will expect to win.
We say: Northern Ireland 1-1 Greece
With both nations seemingly on the up, this should be a competitive encounter. Northern Ireland will start as the marginal favourites, but we are expecting the visitors to strike in the final third at some stage, earning a draw that will be deemed more than satisfactory by their supporters.