Nations League Saturday predictions: Spain to overcome struggling Switzerland
While this winter's World Cup will be at the forefront of the thinking of most national team managers at the moment, there is still plenty to be decided in the latest Nations League fixtures, which continues on Saturday.
Slovenia vs Norway (Saturday, 5pm)
Although Norway will not be involved in Qatar this winter, they have shown plenty of promise in the ongoing Nations League campaign.
Slovenia, meanwhile, are struggling since gaining promotion to League B and could be in for a tough evening in Ljubljana.
Norway have won three and drawn one of their first four matches in Group B4 in the Nations League.
Key to them is the performances of Manchester City star Erling Haaland, who has made a super start to life in the Premier League, bagging 11 goals in seven matches.
Norway dropped their first points in the Nations League against Slovenia in June, having been held to a 0-0 draw in Oslo, but they shape up much better now and can record maximum points when the teams reconvene.
Haaland is on a different level right now and will be eager to give the Norway fans something to shout about, while key creative outlet Martin Odegaard has gone from strength to strength with Arsenal this term and is expected to be involved after shaking off a calf injury.
Slovenia are winless from their four games in Group B4, and the vibrant Norwegians could extend that streak.
Spain vs Switzerland (Saturday, 7.45pm)
Group A2 is one of the tougher sections in the Nations League, but Spain have handled the challenge well and are edging closer to securing top spot.
They still have to travel to Portugal in their next match and know a win at home to Switzerland will be crucial if they are to keep in front.
Spain are unbeaten in their four Nations League contests, winning two and drawing two.
Switzerland picked up a big win in their last match against Portugal in June, but they have been lacking in front of goal, scoring only twice in their current Nations League campaign.
Spain have previously been criticised for their lack of a world-class out-and-out striker, and their defensive resolve could be essential in the upcoming World Cup.
It has been important recently with La Roja shutting out Switzerland and Czech Republic in their last two fixtures.
The likes of Pau Torres and Eric Garcia have been pretty reliable performers for Spain in this tournament, and they should fancy their chances of recording another win to nil against the shot-shy Swiss.
Czech Republic vs Portugal (Saturday, 7.45pm)
Fernando Santos will be feeling the pressure at the Qatar World Cup with a golden generation of Portugal players expected to impress, and the 67-year-old manager will be eager for his team to string together some positive results before the start of the tournament.
Since losing to Belgium in the last 16 at Euro 2020, Portugal have won nine of their previous 13 matches in all competitions.
The Czech Republic, meanwhile, have looked out of their depth in Group A2, managing only one win in four games and firing blanks in each of their last two contests.
Portugal made a solid start to their Nations League campaign, holding Spain to a draw before comfortable victories over Switzerland and Czech Republic.
In June, though, they were underwhelming in a 1-0 loss against Switzerland, although it is worth noting many of their key players had just finished mammoth club campaigns prior to that match.
This time the team should be more motivated, and with the attacking quality of Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota and Rafael Leao to call on, Portugal should run out winners against the Czechs.