The UEFA Nations League returns for another season and as we get closer to the World Cup in Qatar, the teams couldn’t have a better excuse to start flexing some muscle.

We preview the action in the Home Nations first fixtures.

England v Hungary

Kicking off in the third edition of the UEFA Nations League, England will look to improve on last season’s ninth place finish and develop some winning momentum in the leadup to the World Cup in Qatar.

England play Hungary in their first Group A3 fixture of the term, and going off previous results, should be in with a good chance of victory. The last time England lost to Hungary was at the 1962 World Cup and since, they have only failed to win three times in the 15 matches they have played. They are heavy favourites at 2/5 to win on Saturday.

Though England weren’t at their best in last season’s Nations League, the Three Lions were brilliant in their World Cup qualifying campaign. Much of that was built on a strong defence that saw them only let in three goals in 10 games, and they seem likely to win without conceding against Hungary, with both teams to score at 13/10, less likely than not at 4/7.

Gareth Southgate’s side have looked far more assured since making the EURO 2020 final and will look to continue that fine run. They are 6/4 to win their group and qualify for the finals in June 2023.

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Wales v Poland

Though the most important game of Wales’s season will be played on June 5th, first they will have to focus their efforts on what could be a tough fixture against Robert Lewandowski and Co in Poland, in which they are underdogs at 18/5.

They go into the game on the back of some good form, undefeated in nine games since their round of 16 defeat to Denmark at EURO 2020, which includes a draw against Belgium in World Cup qualifying.

Wales won their group in last season’s Nations League, gaining promotion to the highest division, league A. Drawn against Belgium, Poland, and the Netherlands, they may struggle to pick up points but will certainly learn from the experience regardless of the results.

Poland can be expected to threaten with Robert Lewandowski in attack and the prolific forward is 15/8 to be the first goalscorer and only 16/1 to score a hat-trick.

Wales are likely to rest plenty of players ahead of their crucial World Cup play-off final. Their biggest threat, Gareth Bale, hasn’t played much club football recently but always seems to do something special in a Wales shirt and is priced at 21/10 to be an anytime scorer.

Northern Ireland v Greece

It was a tough campaign for Northern Ireland in last season’s Nations League. Claiming just two points in six matches and conceding 11 goals, they were relegated to group C where they will take on Kosovo, Greece, and Cyprus in a bid to return to the second division.

Their first fixture is against Greece on Thursday, where they will have the home advantage. A win would see them equal Greece’s four wins in their all-time head-to-head record. Greece are favourites at 11/8, but Northern Ireland will take confidence from the fact they have won the last two meetings between the sides.

A draw could be on the cards at 19/10 and both teams to score seems possible at 11/10 with a 1-1 draw the most likely outcome at 9/2.

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