Weekend Wanderings: Nations League decider for Three Lions

With the domestic action taking a pause in many top-flight leagues across Europe a lot of attention now turns to the international scene.

More importantly, it also turns to the final act of the Nations League group stage as players and fans get used to this brand-new tournament.

Will there be twists and turns to come this weekend? Most probably, so here are the games to keep an eye out on.

1. Can Italy claim top spot on Chiellini’s special day

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On Saturday two of Europe’s heavyweights meet with each able to nab top spot in their Nations League group.

Italy have fallen somewhat in the last few years, but under Roberto Mancini there is a sense that some form of structure could be returning could be returning to the national team.

On Saturday, the Azzurri host Portugal and will claim top spot in the group if they beat their opponents and if Portugal fail to beat Poland three days later.

For a Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal, things are a bit simpler – a draw on Saturday will be enough to go top.

The day is set to be very special for Juventus and Italy man mountain Giorgio Chiellini.

Should he feature, which barring injury he should, the defender will win his 100th international cap.

2. All or nothing for England

The Three Lions face Croatia in a Nations League decider at Wembley on Sunday.

Croatia’s last-gasp victory over Spain on Thursday night means that the winner of Sunday’s game will take first place in Group A4.

A solid showing against Croatia would be another fine indicator of the progress Gareth Southgate has made with his young and hungry squad.

It’s all or nothing for England as a loss or a score draw would mean they are relegated from the group.

The home side would be safe if the match ends 0-0.

3. Is McLeish heading for the exit door already?

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Remember the old saying never go back? Following his first successful – yet brief – spell as Scotland manager Alex McLeish’s reign the second time around isn’t going exactly as planned.

Gordon Strachan’s replacement obviously has an entirely different squad compared to his last time in charge but, even so, a lot of the fans are struggling to see where this team is going.

Two wins, starting with victory over Albania on Saturday, would be enough to see Scotland win their group but they go into their remaining Nations League fixtures heavily depleted after a wave of players dropped out of the squad, the most recent of which was Aston Villa’s John McGinn with injury.

With some ugly looking results behind them – that defeat to Israel stands out particularly – people remain unconvinced this team is heading in the right direction.

Names such as Steve Clarke, who is currently working wonders at Kilmarnock, have been touted as more forward-thinking characters to bring in to the helm.

A victory on Saturday and defeat of Israel would help McLeish out.


4. Where do Notts County go from here?

Third-from-bottom Notts County are in the strange position of looking for their third manager of the season – and we’re only in November.

Last week the club decided to give Harry Kewell his marching orders just 10 weeks after replacing Kevin Nolan as the club’s ‘long-term solution’ on August 31.

There is virtually no chance that there will be a successor in place ahead of this Saturday’s game against Cheltenham, with caretaker Steve Chettle currently overseeing first team matters.

Three points, and some momentum, are much needed as plenty aren’t really sure where their club is heading right now.

After Saturday’s fixture, everything should be geared to finding the right man, with recently sacked Ipswich manager Paul Hurst said to be interested.

5. Can Yeovil follow their historic victory by giving Chelsea a run for their money?

Yeovil Town have frequently looked a bit out of their depth in the WSL, but at the start of the month – in their last league fixture – they claimed their first ever top-flight win after beating Everton 1-0 at home.

Earlier this week, manager Lee Burch spoke about the importance of persistence and maintaining this mentality, but things are about to get instantly tougher.

Chelsea, though they currently sit fourth, are operating at a different level compared to Yeovil with the two sides meeting on Sunday.

Emma Hayes’ side have all the firepower you could wish for but, if Yeovil truly have turned a corner, you can be surprised what momentum can do.

Follow Alasdair on Twitter @adjhooper1992

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