ENGLAND came close to winning the World Cup in the summer – now Gareth Southgate has to lift his men for a tilt at the Nations League.

First up is a visit from Spain with UEFA lumping the Continent's top 16 into four groups to try to make matches more meaningful in the run-up to Euro 2020. All or most of these 16 will qualify for Euro 2020.

Two late goals earned Spain a 2-2 draw at Wembley two years ago but I can see Southgate's side going one better.

The momentum from a fourth place in Russia should continue and they'll be confident against a side who face a little rebuild after David Silva, Anders Iniesta and Gerard Pique retired.

Diego Costa, their best performing striker at the World Cup, is missing with his partner due to give birth.

England won't make many changes from the squad that set Russia alight and I expect their fine form to continue.

Back the home at 19-10 with bet365 while Spain are 7-4 and the draw pays 2-1 at betfair.

A safer play could be England not to lose at 1-2 with boylesports while both to score could land at evens with Paddy Power.

Harry Kane will be well watched by defenders after winning the Golden Boot and is 4-1 at 888sport to score first and 9-5 at Unibet to net any time.

Defenders Harry Maguire, John Stones and Kieran Trippier all hit the target in Russia and one could score again. Pick one and you'll get between 14-1 and 18-1 for a goal.

Elsewhere Northern Ireland could edge out Bosnia with Michael O'Neill's men always tough to beat at home. They are 21-10 with bet365 but I'm banking on them not to lose at 9-20 at McBookie.

Kyle Lafferty's early-season form earned him a move back to Rangers from Hearts and he is 6-1 at Unibet to score first and 31-10 to strike at any time. Edin Dzeko is first-scorer favourite at 22-5 with Unibet.

Recommended Bets

  • Kane to score first
  • Lafferty to score first
  • England/Nth Ireland not to lose
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