Lovers of soccer at the international level will be able to have fun with the upcoming games of the Qualifiers for EURO 2024’s matchday 1.
This part of the international cycle is usually very interesting to check out the developments of all international teams.
The squads see their biggest renovation during the beginning of the cycles, with many new faces having a go and usually lots of changes in the starting XI of most teams.
Some veteran players may change their minds closer to the EURO 2024 or other competitions such as the World Cup, but that doesn’t usually happen before matchday 1 of the new cycle.
It’s a big responsibility for the new players of the squad or at least the new protagonists, captains and most experienced players to help their teams collect important points in these initial rounds when some veterans may still be absent, or perhaps gone for good from the international selections.
We’ll have in Germany 2024 the 3rd edition of the Euros with 24 teams. This certainly makes things easier for the biggest sides as some nations even have special privileges.
Some teams are assured of being part at least of a play-off spot, due to Nations League rankings. The new format may be a bit confusing, but essentially, It’s a good reason for international teams to take the UEFA Nations League seriously.
Top 3 Matches Scheduled at the End of This Month
1. Italy v England
The most interesting game to follow during the first Matchday on March 23rd will certainly be Italy v England.
The betting markets are absolutely even when it comes to expectations for this game. In the 1×2 market, the odds for a victory of either side are now +155, and the tie could pay odds of +230.
Matches between big international teams are interesting because the players are naturally more motivated than usual. If a player is not starting games at the club level, a top performance at the international level always has the potential to change the situation and make the club manager give him more chances.
2. France v Netherlands
France v Netherlands is another clash of giants that will attract the attention of the international soccer community during Matchday 1 of the EUROs. The hosts are the favorites with odds of -115, while the tie could pay winning bettors +250 and the victory of the Dutch side, +335.
The over/under markets for the game between France and Netherlands have odds of over/under 2.5 at -110 / -134, respectively.
This will be the first game of France since the early retirement of Raphaël Varane, as the center-back claimed to be tired of the full schedule including international action. Also, the new Dutch star Gody Gakpo is in pretty decent form playing for his new club Liverpool FC, and the attacker certainly seems to have what it takes to be a long-term protagonist of the Dutch international selection.
The absence of Varane could potentially impact the upcoming games of France, although the French side coped generally well with injuries during the last World Cup in Qatar. Moreover, there seems to be controversy around the French side on a very frequent basis. Pogba is again on the news due to disciplinary issues at his club, Juventus, as his return to Italy from Manchester United is being considered very negative.
The international retirement of yet another star at a relatively young age as it happened with Varane, now 29, also raises some questions about whether big starts that play lots of games during a season are accumulating too much fatigue. However, regardless of the departure of big names, the colors of international selections will always have a place in the hearts of soccer fans, as they unite a nation like the Olympics does with other sports that are popular in North America and Canada.
3. Sweden v Belgium
Sweden v Belgium will also be an interesting game between sides of potential, but that didn’t lift any silverware in the international topflight.
The odds for a victory of Sweden are +285 on average, while the tie could pay +225 to potential winners, and the Belgian victory, +107 according to the average market odds in Canada and in the international markets.
Hazard recently confirmed his international retirement, which could impact the confidence levels of the team, even if the Real Madrid star isn’t living his best days in the Spanish capital. Also, the Belgian side lived some controversies during the World Cup due to problems in the relationship between some of their stars, reportedly, Kevin de Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois, which could still affect their performances.
The first games of the qualifying may be very interesting to spot new talent. Players that already are a part of big clubs’ squads may have the chance to start games, especially after the retirement of players such as Varane or Hazard at the international level, for example.
International soccer is a parallel world where club-level activity stops for a while, but the consequences of the performances there could impact transfer window moves and choices of club-level managers, for example.
Big tournaments such as the World Cup and the EUROs usually influence the upcoming transfer windows of big EUROpean clubs as well as Canadian ones.
However, the players that get to be protagonists at the international level, and ultimately change their careers with bright international performances don’t get a spot at their home nations’ teams without a reason: the qualifying is an exciting build-up to the hottest action every two years, and during Matchday 1 of the qualifying, lots of novelties will happen and EUROpean football will be very interesting to watch between March 23rd and March 25th, when the first round will be played.
It’s also interesting to follow these games in the in-running betting markets. The markets sometimes may have difficulty anticipating the performances of the teams after so many changes at the beginning of an international soccer cycle. That said, the in-running markets may present the bettors with some interesting opportunities to profit from soccer sports bettin