Essential Stats: UEFA Nations League
England, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Republic Ireland among teams to compete in UEFA Nations League live on Sky Sports
Last Updated: 11/10/18 1:55pm
Will England exact revenge against Croatia, and will the home nations make chances count? We pick the top stats ahead of the latest round of UEFA Nations League action.
The Nations League returns this week and there's a lot to play for: promotion, relegation, and even a chance to qualify for Euro 2020. Here are the stats you need to know...
Croatia v England
There might be an autumn chill in the air, but Friday night's standout fixture evokes memories of the sweltering summer as Croatia and England meet in a rematch of their World Cup semi-final.
Croatia stopped it coming home, of course, but their own homecoming won't take place in front of their fans. The match in Rijeka - their first at home since the World Cup - will be played behind closed doors.
The key for England will be stopping the opposition's magnificent midfield. Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Marcelo Brozovic played a combined total of 241 passes during the World Cup semi-final. England's central midfielders managed just 131.
The trio were also better at imposing themselves defensively, attempting more tackles than England's midfielders despite having so much more of the ball.
Both sides lost to Spain in their opening Nations League fixtures. England went down 2-1 at Wembley, while Croatia were thrashed 6-0 in Alicante.
After the highs of summer, relegation would not be a good look for either team - so there is plenty riding on Friday's game.
Austria v Northern Ireland
In League B, Northern Ireland will be in Vienna, hoping to kick-start their campaign against Austria. The green and white army suffered a 2-1 defeat to Bosnia-Herzegovina in their first game, despite dominating throughout.
Remarkably, Michael O'Neill's side racked up 21 more shots than the visitors. They also had the lion's share of possession, won 18 corners and forced the Bosnians into making 56 clearances - a staggering statistic!
In the 46 Nations League clashes so far, only three teams have recorded more shots in a single game - but Northern Ireland are the only team to attempt 18 or more shots in a game and not win.
Austria will argue they had their own hard-luck story against Bosnia, going down 1-0 despite having 13 shots to six. So somebody's luck needs to change on Friday at the Ernst-Happel Stadium.
Israel v Scotland
As shown in the graphic above, Scotland had 26 shots in their first Nations League game - but their efforts on goal paid dividends with a win against Albania at Hampden Park.
Alex McLeish's side are set to cover considerable distance this week, flying 2,500 miles to Israel - the form book suggests it could be a fruitful trip.
The Israelis have lost seven of their last nine competitive home games, including each of their last three. Since the start of 2015, Andorra and Liechtenstein are the only teams not to win on Israel's turf.
This will be McLeish's first competitive away game since returning as Scotland boss. During his first spell in charge, he famously led his nation to a 1-0 win over France in Paris. He will fancy his chances of making it two Nations League wins from two in Haifa.
Republic of Ireland v Denmark
On Saturday night, it's a meeting of familiar faces at the Aviva Stadium when the Republic of Ireland host Denmark. The Republic manager Martin O'Neill and Denmark boss Age Hareide were team-mates at Manchester City and Norwich in the early '80s.
Of course, these nations also met in last year's World Cup qualifying play-offs, when the Danes shattered Irish hearts with a thumping 5-1 win in Dublin.
The Republic also lost their first Nations League outing, being outplayed in a 4-1 defeat against Wales, meaning they have now conceded nine times in their last two competitive fixtures.
So Martin O'Neill will be desperate for victory - but it won't come easy against a Danish side who rarely suffer defeat.
In fact, the Danes haven't lost inside 90 minutes in any of their last 14 competitive fixtures. Their only defeat in that time was on penalties to Croatia at the World Cup. Including friendlies, Denmark have only lost two of their last 21 games.
They may well be without the talismanic Christian Eriksen, who scored a hat-trick in that 5-1 win over Ireland last November, but Denmark will remain a tough test for O'Neill's men.
Netherlands v Germany
Also on Saturday night, a glamorous tie at the Johan Cryuff Arena in Amsterdam, where the Netherlands face old rivals Germany. Both sides will be going all out to record their first Nations League victory.
Germany kicked off their campaign with a goalless draw against France on the opening night. So, after a disappointing World Cup, the Germans have now won only one of their last four competitive games.
Germany have failed to score three times during this run, but that's not been for the want of trying. Joachim Low's side racked up 86 attempts across those four games. However, they scored just twice from 28 shots on target.
You have to go all the way back to Euro 2004 to find the last time Germany went three competitive games without victory.
One of the three teams they failed to beat at that tournament was the Netherlands, and the Dutch will be hoping to frustrate their neighbours once again.
Every single game in the UEFA Nations League will be live and exclusive on Sky Sports across six successive days of competitive international action and it all begins on Thursday.
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