THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS takes center stage this weekend as the Premier League has a well-deserved rest.
We offer betting tips to get you out of two huge clashes in Europe, before crossing the Atlantic for a World Cup qualifier with Argentina.
Portugal vs France – samedi, 19h45 (Sky Sports)
A potential clash of the Lisbon weekend game gets us going.
The reigning Euro champions face the world champions again after a 0-0 stalemate last month in Paris.
It was a two-defense game, with Portugal showing the kind of tenacity that gives them a superb chance to hold onto their crown next summer.
They are currently at the top of Group 3, holding the Frenchman second on goal difference.
But never underestimate the men of Didier Deschamps, who left late to beat Croatia last time in the League of Nations.
And definitely ignore their poor performance against Finland in midweek due to an experimental XI.
When you can get Kingsley Coman, Paul Pogba and Olivier Giroud off the bench, you’ll never be far in any game.
This 0-0 draw in the French capital saw just six shots on target, but you couldn’t separate the two teams in 90 minutes.
50/50 possession, 13 attempts apiece, same blocked shots, even their passing stats were only four apart (603-607, if you’re interested).
Basically you can’t separate these two and we wouldn’t be surprised to see another draw.
Only one of the last five meetings has registered more than 2.5 goals and although Ronaldo is chasing his 103rd international goal, we are not convinced it will be a goalscoring party.
Portugal have only conceded once in their last six games – and even that was in a 4-1 beating against Croatia.
21/10 on a draw is definitely worth supporting if the defenses stay on top.
And for those of you who want to play even later, under 2.5 goals at 8/13 is the way to go.
Ronaldo had been rested from the start against Andorra midweek as he recovered from a dose of Covid-19 – and still found time to score his 102nd international goal on the bench.
It is equal at all times – a great price and very easy to support.
SunSport’s best bets
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Belgium vs England – Sunday 7:45 p.m. (Sky Sports)
Ahh, how we aspire to 2018.
You could go to a game, sit in the pub, see your friends – and England were a bright, fearless young team.
Fast forward two years and Gareth Southgate is under pressure to deliver following a number of crystal clear and uninspired results since football’s return from lockdown.
It’s certainly not all dark, with the Three Lions already booked for Euros next summer.
And the B side played the part in the midweek victory over Ireland.
You could say Southgate is just experimenting with their pack ahead of a major tournament.
But just three goals in four Nations League games is not the England we’d expect and many are asking Southgate to let go of the chains.
It was a bizarre game at Wembley when these teams met there last month with the Three Lions claiming a 2-1 victory.
Belgium have won their three other Nations League matches comfortably and sit first in Group 2.
A win for the visitors here, however, would see the Southgate men return to the top.
See, what is it?
England will need to be infinitely better than their 0-1 loss to Denmark, in which they never managed to fight well-organized opposition.
Belgium will attack here and attack with speed, so don’t expect Southgate to give up on their midfield experience.
In terms of betting, the home side are an excellent 11/8 despite being unbeaten at home since September 2016.
That makes 4/11 that you can get over Belgium to earn or shoot an absolute theft – and certainly one for recharging your accumulators.
As much as we would love a return to the England that tore Spain apart on that glorious October evening two years ago, we are not holding our breath.
England may have only been on the road twice this calendar year, but have collected just 5 shots on target in games against Demnark and Iceland.
It is a big step forward.
Four of Belgium’s last six games have scored three or more goals, including this 2-1 loss in London.
Despite England’s stingy outings on the road, we’d expect goals in this one at a very reasonable price.
Over 2.5 goals is 17/20, while we are also a big fan of Belgium to win IS half to a whopping 7/10.
Romelu Lukaku has thrived since leaving the Premier League and is on his way to becoming one of the best snipers in Europe.
He’s been in 10 out of 11 games so far in 2020/21 – including against England last month – so shouldn’t be 6/4 to score anytime on Sunday. Ascend.
SunSport’s best bets
Peru vs Argentina, Wednesday 12:30 a.m.
Regardless of the euros, South America has World Cup fever.
Argentina and Peru face off in Lima as Lionel Messi looks to lead his country to the final – and perhaps one last hit on the elusive gong.
The home side are in the middle of a shockingly form race and haven’t won a competitive game since July 2019, despite knocking out Brazil on 12/1 in a friendly in Rio.
Argentina enters this one in good condition, and in direct parallel with the hosts, has not lost since July of last year.
Far a banker then, surely?
Well, not so fast – Argentina on their travels is no giveaway and hasn’t beaten Peru on their last three visits here.
All of these matches ended in draws, the most recent being a World Cup qualifier in 2016.
The Argentinian appeared to have won it thanks to Gonzalo Higuain with a late strike, but was outplayed throughout and Peru earned an equalizer on the spot.
Just as they showed in Bolivia, Argentina are not an attacking force and had to come from behind after managing just 43% possession.
In a nutshell, don’t expect it to be a walk.
Argentina have conceded in their last four visits to Peru and the home side, despite their recent poor form, managed to score twice against Brazil last time around.
The two teams to score are therefore on the line at a generous 8/11, while we are also tempted by Peru to score more than once again at 11/4.
Messi dreams of lifting the World Cup and that’s about the one thing he hasn’t won.
The little magician has three in his last two matches, but none for his country this quarter.
That can all change in Lima – scoring Messi’s first goal at 3/1.
SunSport’s best bets
* All Ladbrokes ratings and correct at time of posting.
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