Nations League Semi-Finals | Football Trading Preview

The last major football games of the 2022/23 season take place this week as the Nations League Semi-Finals kick off on Wednesday. It feels like the qualifying stage was years ago!

So much has happened since the group stage finished in September, we even had a World Cup…

We have two cracking fixtures though, and some nice trading opportunities on International football.

The fixture list is;

  • Netherlands v Croatia 7-45pm Wednesday
  • Spain v Italy 7-45pm Thursday

Spain v Italy will take on the focus, but Netherlands v Croatia should be a good game too. We had a very successful World Cup, and hopefully, we can finish the season on a high with this last International break.

Netherlands v Croatia Trading Options

Despite finishing third in the World Cup, it’s hard to rave about Croatia. Their journey there was very underwhelming, and they didn’t play good football. They were actually exceptionally lucky to make it out of the group stage – Belgium finished the 0-0 with them with an xG of 3.22. Romelu Lukaku missed every chance under the sun! Aside from an expected win over Canada, Croatia didn’t win again until they faced Morocco in the third-placed playoff. They beat Japan on penalties with a smaller xG figure than they conceded and the same happened against Brazil – that was a big shock, but Croatia’s xG was only 0.63.

You have to give them credit for grinding, but they are limited. The Netherlands were unimpressive at the World Cup too. After getting an easy group their xG figures were low. Their xG figures were 1.31, 0.11, 1.72, 1.80 and 0.52. Their two highest figures came against the USA and Qatar – sides they probably should have higher xG figures against, to be honest. The Netherlands are trading 2.12 to win, but I am fully focused on the goals market. Under 2.5 goals is trading 1.77 and I feel this game screams the early Under 2.5 goals trade from the Football Course. It’s hard to see Croatia doing anything other than sitting back, and the Netherlands can start games in a very cagey fashion too. I think this price will drop quite quickly but do take the first five minutes to read the game and let play develop.

Spain v Italy Trading Options

I have very similar thoughts on this fixture as the above one, I reckon we get two cagey Nations League Semi-Finals to be honest. It will be interesting to see how Wednesday plays out, and do we take any adjustments into Thursday’s market. Italy missed out on the World Cup, and Spain was very lacklustre. Once again, low xG figures and not creating a lot. After the 7-0 win over Costa Rica, their xG figures were 0.79 v Germany, 1.20 v Japan and 1.55 v Morocco. The Japan and Morocco games just weren’t good enough. They come into this game as the favourites, but I wouldn’t mind taking them on at 2.4. Once again though, I’m happy to stay out of the match odds market because the early Under 2.5 goals trade jumps off the page here.

Spain doesn’t tend to start games very quickly, and Italy is likely to have a very cagey outlook at the start too. Under 2.5 goals is trading at 1.65 and I feel we’ll see a quick drop – I would suggest looking at the market and how it reacts on Wednesday to see if can we expect any similar moves here. My strategy would be to let the first four/five minutes go to let the game settle and then get into the market between minutes 5 and 25 – perhaps even longer if you feel its value.

Two very nice and enjoyable Nations League games to watch.. hopefully, we land the two trades!

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