Aimed at bringing an end to mundane international friendlies, the draw for the inaugural UEFA Nations League was made this week, with England being pitted in a group alongside Croatia and Spain.
However for England fans hoping that the tournament will bring long-awaited international success to the country, the odds suggest they may want to look away now.
Commenting on whether the tournament could provide England with an opportunity to end the baron run without winning an international competition, Betway’s Alan Alger told SBC: “Sadly for England supporters, over half a century of hurt doesn’t look like being ended by winning the inaugural Nations League. England are joint-fifth in the outright betting at 10/1, with Spain, Germany, Belgium and France all shorter in the betting.
“The big problem for England is that they will have to overcome 3/1 pre-tournament favourites Spain in the group. Also, we’ve got to consider to what extent Gareth Southgate, or whoever may be in charge at this point, will put emphasis on fielding his best eleven.
“Spain are expected to top the group and progress to the knockout stages at 8/13, while the Three Lions are as big as 9/4 to progress. A second place finish in the group would mean England’s inaugural appearance at the Nations League would be cut short.”
Detailing which nations he predicts will be in the running to win the debut version of the tournament, Alger continued: “Spain head the betting at 3/1 and have to be feared having not lost since being dumped out of the 2016 European Championships by Italy. Germany are clear second-favourites at 9/2, with France and Belgium the other fancied sides at 5/1. We feel it will be between those three, with a big jump in the betting to 10/1-shots England and Italy after that.”
Nonetheless, whilst the tournament may not be positive for England, it may well increase betting interest in international breaks: “The potential for big clashes, starting with England and Spain and then other games during the group stages like Germany versus France could definitely heighten betting interest.
One-sided qualifiers tend not to be so inviting for punters, so the way the Nations League is set out, pitting big countries against each other from the off, will hopefully make for some good betting, as well as viewing spectacles.”