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The best and worst of this weekend’s UEFA Nations League schedule

The Nations League heads into Match Day 3 with a packed slate of 27 games to keep your soccer queue full throughout the entire weekend.

Belgium v Iceland -UEFA Nations league Photo by Soccrates/Getty Images

As the UEFA Nations League presses on, this weekend sees a full slate of 27 matches taking place between Saturday, October 10th and Sunday the 11th as they head into Match Day 3. Nearly every single team is in action this weekend, with a quick turnaround as Match Day 4 will take place the following Tuesday and Wednesday.

Need a quick refresher on how the Nations League format works? You’re probably not the only one, as it’s a fairly new tournament and has changed a bit since its inaugural season. 55 teams are split up into 4 different leagues — Leagues A, B, C, and D. Each league is subdivided into 4 groups, with the exception of League D who only has 2 groups. The 4 group winners from League A will advance to the UEFA Nations League Finals where one team will be crowned the winner after two games.

The group winners in Leagues B, C, and D will be promoted to the next group up, the last-place finishers in each group in Leagues A and B will be relegated, and the losers of League C will participate in a play-off to determine which 2 teams will drop down to League D.

Easy enough, right?

Best Games of Match Day 3

There are some games that are an absolute must-watch heading into Match Day 3. With teams working to avoid relegation and fight for promotion and/or head to the Finals that will take place next year, every point counts as each team only plays each team in their group twice throughout the group stage.

England v. Belgium — League A, Group 2

Sunday, October 11th, 12:00PM ET
Wembley Stadium, London
Watch on: ESPN, Univision Deportes N

If for some reason you’re looking for only one game to watch over the weekend, this one is a no-brainer. Two world powerhouses will go at each other as #4-ranked in the world England hosts #1-ranked Belgium as both teams will battle it out for the top of Group A2.

Belgium opened their campaign last month with two commanding wins, with a 2-0 victory over Denmark and a 5-1 win at home against Iceland, setting them apart as the top scorers across the entire Nations League with 7 goals total in only 2 matches. The Red Devils have won their last 12 straight competitive matches, outscoring their opponents 47-4 in that stretch. Real Madrid star Eden Hazard has yet to make an appearance in Nations League play as he’s been battling injury for the past little while, but Belgium coach Roberto Martinez is confident that Hazard will be back to full health by the next round of matches in November, if not sooner. Hazard’s absence hasn’t stopped the Red Devils from scoring goals, though, as they’ve got dangerous options in Dries Mertens, Kevin De Bruyne, and Michy Batshuayi who have all scored in recent matches.

On the other side, England’s start to the Nations League campaign hasn’t been quite as successful, as they logged a 1-0 win over Iceland followed by a 0-0 draw in Denmark. Both their opening matches were on the road, though, and they’ll look forward to playing their next two outings at Wembley Stadium where they hope to make up some ground. The Three Lions sit 2 points out of first place in Group A2, but a win over Belgium on Sunday would vault them straight into first. Raheem Sterling scored England’s lone goal in the first round of matches, which was a stoppage-time penalty kick in their 1-0 win over Iceland, which was good enough to just squeak out the full three points. Harry Kane and company will look to open the scoring floodgates as they attempt to get past Belgium’s solid defense.

France v. Portugal — League A, Group 3

Sunday, October 11th, 2:45PM ET
Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Watch on: ESPN, Univision Deportes N

Portugal, the reigning UEFA Euro Champions and the winners of the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League, will travel to take on the current FIFA World Cup Champions France as both teams have started off their Nations League campaign with back-to-back wins. Separated only by goal differential at the top of the Group A3 table, these two titans of soccer will battle it out for the top of the group.

Of course any team that includes Cristiano Ronaldo is bound to be a heavy hitter, but even without CR7 in the first match, Portugal was able to knock off Croatia 4-1 thanks to goals from Joao Cancelo, Diogo Jota, Joao Felix, and Andre Silva. Portugal is stacked with stars and will be no easy test for France. Ronaldo came back for game 2 and scored both goals in their 2-0 win over Sweden, so coach Fernando Santos will hope his team can continue their run of good form and produce a positive result against the World Champions.

France also trounced over both Sweden and Croatia in their opening games, with a 1-0 result in Sweden followed by a 4-2 win at home over Croatia in Paris. Kylian Mbappe scored the only goal in Sweden, while Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud both scored in the Croatia match. France also just steamrolled Ukraine in a friendly earlier in the week with a massive 7-1 victory, thanks to a brace from Giroud, with additional goals coming from Griezmann, Mbappe, Corentin Tolisso, and others.

This game is sure to be an exciting one as superstars from both countries go head-to-head as they look to take control of the group.

Worst Games of Match Day 3

Just like we have star-studded games that promise to be full of excitement and intensity, there are also going to be some matches you can afford to avoid.

Finland v. Bulgaria — League B, Group 4

Sunday, October 11th, 12:00PM ET
Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki
Watch on: ESPN, Univision Deportes N

#56-ranked Finland will be hosting #60-ranked Bulgaria in Group B4 play, but to be honest this is likely to be a low-scoring contest as both teams only scored one goal overall through their first two games in the group stage. Bulgaria logged a 1-1 draw with Ireland to open the campaign and followed it up with a 1-0 loss to Wales just a few days later. Their lone goal was scored by Midtjylland midfielder Bozhidar Kraev in the second half the draw with Ireland, and they thought they would be escaping with all 3 points until Shane Duffy knocked in a goal in the third minute of stoppage time to salvage a draw for the Irish.

Finland actually bested Ireland in their second match of group play, but opened the campaign with a 1-0 loss at home to Wales. Fredrik Jensen scored Finland’s only goal of the group stage so far. It’s hard to pick between the two sides who will most likely be evenly matched, but there are definitely easier choices to watch than this one.

Liechtenstein v. Gibraltar — League D, Group 2

Saturday, October 10th, 12:00PM ET
Rheinpark Stadion, Vaduz
Watch on: ESPN, Univision Deportes N

Look, these teams are in League D for a reason. Liechtenstein, ranked #180 in the world, will play host to #195-ranked Gibraltar in the first of two meetings between the sides in Group D2 play. Liechtenstein currently sits at the top of the group, tied on points with Gibraltar but ahead by one on goal differential. They took out last-place San Marino 2-0 to open their campaign, while Gibraltar did the same with a 1-0 win over San Marino in the opening phase.

Now the two sides will compete head-to-head, hoping for promotion to League C in the next edition of Nations League. Any of the League D games would probably make it near the bottom in the list of priorities to watch, but this one would be the ultimate “skip” for this weekend’s slate of matches for me.

Full TV Schedule for Match Day 3

All matches can be found in the United States on ESPN and Univision Deportes N. Check your local listings for further details.

All times listed are Eastern.

Saturday, October 10th

9:00AM — Luxembourg v. Cyprus — Group C1
9:00AM — Montenegro v. Azerbaijan — Group C1
12:00PM — Faroe Islands v. Latvia — Group D1
12:00PM — Liechtenstein v. Gibraltar — Group D2
2:45PM — Andorra v. Malta — Group D1
2:45PM — Ukraine v. Germany — Group A4
2:45PM — Spain v. Switzerland — Group A4

Sunday, October 11th

9:00AM — Republic of Ireland v. Wales — Group B4
9:00AM — Kazakhstan v. Albania — Group C4
12:00PM — Norway v. Romania — Group B1
12:00PM — Finland v. Bulgaria — Group B4
12:00PM — Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Netherlands — Group A1
12:00PM — England v. Belgium — Group A2
12:00PM — Croatia v. Sweden — Group A3
12:00PM — Estonia v. North Macedonia — Group C2
12:00PM — Armenia v. Georgia — Group C2
12:00PM — Lithuania v. Belarus — Group C4
2:45PM — Poland v. Italy — Group A1
2:45PM — Iceland v. Denmark — Group A2
2:45PM — France v. Portugal — Group A3
2:45PM — Northern Ireland v. Austria — Group B1
2:45PM — Israel v. Czech Republic — Group B2
2:45PM — Scotland v. Slovakia — Group B2
2:45PM — Serbia v. Hungary — Group B3
2:45PM — Russia v. Turkey — Group B3
2:45PM — Kosovo v. Slovenia — Group C3
2:45PM — Greece v. Moldova — Group C3