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Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

France could get the better of jaded Germany

Czech Republic and Georgia also look good bets

France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates a goal against Argentina
1 of 1

Nations League
Kick-offs from 3pm Thursday

Germany have a point to prove after their dismal performance at the World Cup but they look poor-value favourites to defeat world champions France in a Nations League Group One clash in Munich.

Joachim Low stayed on as Germany's head coach and needs a victory to begin the healing process.

The Germans exited the World Cup at the group stage for the first time since reunification – finishing below Sweden, Mexico and South Korea.

Several players did not cover themselves in glory, including Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, who has since retired from international football citing a lack of support from the German Football Federation.

Low doesn't expect Ozil to reverse his decision but has named an experienced squad featuring Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Matts Hummels, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller.

There is still plenty of talent in the group and Low shouldn't have many problems plotting a path to Euro 2020.

However, Germany are no longer among the most feared teams on the planet and will struggle to match a hugely talented French side.
France won the World Cup despite showing only fleeting glimpses of their quality.

Les Bleus should get even stronger over the next two years and their most exciting player, Kylian Mbappe, could soon have the world at his feet.

There is a short-term risk of France suffering a loss of focus but the squad's strength in depth is undeniable, and the intense competition for places should drive standards higher and higher.

Winning the Nations League next summer will not be the top priority but France are obvious contenders and can start with a victory this week.

Czech Republic have had a lean spell in recent years but can start their Nations League campaign with a home victory over Ukraine.

The Czechs and Ukrainians are housed in League B Group One – alongside Slovakia – and both are taking the Nations League seriously, just in case they struggle in European championship qualifying.

Ukraine head coach Andrei Shevchenko has picked a squad full of experience but there is an over-reliance on wingers Andrei Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konyplyanka to provide the goalscoring threat.

The Czech squad – featuring highly-rated Roma striker Patrik Schick – looks better balanced and they are good value to start with a win on home soil.

With one team from Nations League League D guaranteed a place at Euro 2020, there is a huge incentive for the smaller nations, including Kazakhstan and Georgia, who kick off their Group One campaign in Astana.

Georgia have the better players and they look value to start with a victory.

England's Under-21s are dominating European Championship qualifying Group Four and are odds-on favourites to defeat second-placed Holland at Carrow Road.

A victory for the Aidy Boothroyd's side would give them an eight-point cushion over the Dutch with just three games left to play.

Recommendations
France
1pt 15-8 Betfred
Czech Republic
1pt 17-12 188Bet
Georgia
1pt 19-10 BoyleSports


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Germany are no longer among the most feared teams on the planet
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