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Switzerland eyes bright start vs Iceland in UEFA Nations League opener

Xherdan Shaqiri Switzerland vs Iceland UEFA Nations League

With the new UEFA Nations League underway and looking to sharpen up the sometimes monotonous international fixture list, the clash between Switzerland and Iceland on Saturday promises to be anything but dull. The two teams have been drawn alongside Belgium in the group stage and, with only one team advancing to the semifinals, a positive start would look to be absolutely imperative.

SHARK BITES
  • Switzerland has won five of its six meetings with Iceland.
  • The last match between these two countries ended in a 4-4 draw back in 2013.
  • Switzerland has won nine of its last 10 home matches.

Switzerland’s home record is almost infallible

The Swiss will be able to count on the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Denis Zakaria and Ricardo Rodriguez as they look to start this new international tournament with a bang. Iceland, as ever, will be looking to the creative talents of Everton playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson to try to carve some holes in the home side’s defence.

There is no denying, however, that Switzerland will feel confident of taking all three points in this curtain raiser. They have won nine of their last 10 home games and five of six previous meetings with Iceland, while the visitors have not won any of their last seven games, losing five of them.

And it is indeed Switzerland that comes into the game as the overwhelming favorite to take all three points. The home side is at just -143 to do so, while Iceland is out at +500 to pick up a win on the road. A draw is priced in the middle at +275, but this really should be Switzerland’s day.

The Swiss in the mood to impress

Switzerland’s last competitive fixture may have ended in a 1-0 defeat to Sweden in the Round of 16 at the World Cup, but their recent home record speaks for itself. It is now over two years since they were defeated in front of their own fans and, given Iceland’s recent run of form, that does not look likely to happen this weekend.

While it is never easy trying to predict the exact scoreline of a game, a 2-1 win for Switzerland is priced at +800. In addition, you can back OVER 2.5 goals in the game at +135, while UNDER 2.5 goals is at the shorter price of -175, and both teams to score is at +125.

However, Iceland may have their work cut out for them if they are to get on the scoresheet in this one. Switzerland’s recent defensive record has been nothing short of impressive, with the hosts conceding just three goals in their last 10 home games and keeping no fewer than eight clean sheets.

Iceland has been on a meteoric rise in the world of international football over recent years, but there are fears that they may have reached their peak, for the time being at least. Their recent record does not exactly breed confidence, and you can back Switzerland to win to nil (without Iceland scoring a goal) at a price of +140.

Cause for hope in Iceland away form

Ironically, Iceland’s recent form on the road could give them some slight encouragement. The side has lost just four of their last 13 games away from home since Euro 2016, and that run has included impressive victories over the likes of the Republic of Ireland and Turkey.

However, they also lost 1-0 to Finland, showing there is still ample room for improvement, and whether this side has the technical quality to compete with Switzerland over the course of 90 minutes remains very much in doubt. If the Swiss hit the ground running, then it could be a long night for Iceland.

OVER 0.5 goals in the opening 10 minutes is priced at +400, while you can back Switzerland to be ahead by the end of that time period at +750. And it is star forward Xherdan Shaqiri who looks the best bet for finding those goals for the home side.

The new Liverpool acquisition is at just +162 to score at any time during the 90 minutes. Meanwhile, you can back him at +450 to net either the first or the last goal of the game.

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