We’ve had the traditional Community Shield curtain raiser to the season, everyone’s appetite has been whetted for the re-start of Premier League football – so of course we’re going to have an international break!
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland are all in action – twice – before domestic football gets underway again.
The first action featuring the home nations is on Thursday. Here’s how you can watch the games – and enjoy a little flutter.
Finland vs Wales
Sky Sports Main Event and S4C are showing Wales’ trip to Helsinki, which kicks off at 7.45pm on Thursday.
Finland qualified for Group B by topping Nations League Group C.
Finland have an exciting crop of players including Norwich goalscorer Teemu Pukki and Bayer Leverkusen’s Lukas Hradecky.
Finland have won seven and lost one of their last eight competitive matches at home, that solitary defeat coming against Italy.
And Wales have Aaron Ramsey, David Brooks, Neil Taylor and Sam Vokes all missing through injury, leaving Ryan Giggs short in midfield, defence and attack.
And if that doesn’t all point you in one direction, Wales haven’t kicked a ball in anger since last November.
Odds of 11/5 with thepools.com on a home win are very, very appealing.
Bulgaria vs Republic of Ireland
On the same night, but on a different channel – Sky Sports Football – Stephen Kenny’s reign as Ireland boss gets underway in Sofia.
Again this Group B clash kicks off at 7.45pm – and there’s some very recent form to fold into our assessment.
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A much-depleted Ireland side beat the same opponents 3-1 in a Dublin friendly 12 months ago.
The away win is 13/10 with thepools.com .
But we can probably be bolder than that.
While Bulgaria moved up a Nations League level after finishing second to Norway in Group C, their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign saw them win just one of eight games to finish a distant fourth in a pool featuring England and Czech Republic.
That solitary success, a 1-0 defeat of the Czechs in Georgi Dermendzhiev’s first competitive contest as head coach, was sandwiched in between 1-0 friendly defeats to Paraguay and Belarus.
Bulgaria will also be missing the recently retired Ivelin Popov and the injured Georgi Milanov and Aleksandar Tonev.
Germany vs Spain
The match of the night on Thursday is the Group A curtain raiser between Germany and Spain in Stuttgart (kick-off 7.45pm on Sky Sports Premier League) and something will have to give.
Germany have won eight of their last 12 games, while Spain are on an 11-game unbeaten run.
But Spanish coach Luis Enrique has named a young and inexperienced squad named for the first two Nations League Group A1 fixtures against Germany and Ukraine and the home team are 7/5 to get their campaign off to a winning start.
But with both sides fielding an array of young attacking talent – Kai Havertz and Timo Werner for the home side and Adama Traore and Marco Asensio in the visitors’ line up, perhaps Over 2.5 goals is the safer option at 17/20 .
Finland to win at 11/5
Ireland to win to nil at 9/4