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Weekend Review: Ruthless Raspadori relegates impotent England as NFL throws up some shocks

England and Wales disappoint in the international action as high-flying Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs prove to be coupon-busters

The much-criticised UEFA Nations League saw two of the home nations, England and Wales, disappoint as the NFL threw up some the big shocks in the weekend’s action.

England (5/4) went down 1-0 to Italy (11/5) at the San Siro thanks to a Giacomo Raspadori strike in the 68th minute. This relegates England from their Nations League group and will see the Three Lions take up a position in League B at the commencement of the next tournament.

The result also leaves England with an unwanted stat that they are one of two sides yet to score a non-penalty goal in this Nations League alongside minnows San Marino.

Wales (17/10) were also relegated from their Nations League group as they lost 1-0 to Poland (9/5) thanks to a Karol Świderski goal just shy of the hour mark, but it was talisman Robert Lewandowski’s audacious assist that will grab the headlines from the game at the Cardiff City Stadium.

In the other result in this group, the Netherlands (29/20) secured the top spot with a 1-0 win over Belgium (7/4) thanks to a Virgil van Dijk header at the Amsterdam Arena.

The biggest shock of the round of fixtures came at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen as two quick-fire goals from Kasper Dolberg and Andreas Skov Olsen gave current World Cup holders France food for thought ahead of the tournament in Qatar.

Denmark’s (12/5) victory has left Les Bleus with just one win in their last five matches and a disappointing third-place finish in their Nations League group, narrowly escaping relegation by one point.

Spain (1/2) also fell to their first home defeat in almost four years as they lost 2-1 to Switzerland (5/1). Goals from Manchester City newbie Manuel Akanji and Breel Embolo either side of a leveller from Jordi Alba gave the Rossocrociati an escape from Nations League relegation.

These results boosted the bookies on what was a good weekend for layers.

Kindred Group’s Ali Gill said: “With the Premier League taking a break, Nations League took the stage over the weekend, with England already relegated after another relatively poor showing against Italy on Friday. The weekend matches, however, made up for the lack of league action with some very layer friendly results.

“Netherland’s 1-0 win over Belgium topped the turnover table with two key Kindred markets involved, with that result leaving us nicely ahead. Denmark’s 2-0 win over France and Spain’s 2-1 defeat to Switzerland also left healthy black numbers in the results column for us,” he added.

Across the pond, the NFL provided a couple of shocks that swung the weekend’s needle further in favour of the operators as the Buffalo Bills (1/2) suffered a disappointing 21-19 loss against the Miami Dolphins (17/10).

The other upset of the NFL action saw Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs (2/5) lose 20-17 against the Indianapolis Colts (9/5) as kicker Matt Ammendola had a game to forget as he missed two of his three kicks in the match, which would’ve given the Chiefs the win.

Betfred’s Alan Firkins commented: “The NFL is an integral part of the sporting weekend at this time of year, and shock defeats for hotshots Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs smashed stacks of accumulators.”

Closer to home, the Super League Grand Final saw St Helens (2/5) break the record for consecutive Super League wins as they defeated Leeds Rhinos (9/4) 24-12 at Old Trafford to bring the trophy home for the fourth year in a row.

Firkins added: “Closer to home fans of a similar-shaped ball paid homage to record-breaking St Helens, with their fourth straight Betfred Grand Final victory at Old Trafford against Leeds. An emphatic, fitting farewell for outgoing coach Kristian Woolf.”

In the pick of the horseracing action over the weekend, all eyes were on Newmarket with plenty of upsets and outside shots dominating the headlines.

Majestic ran home victorious at 25/1 in the Cambridgeshire Heritage Handicap in a surprise win for apprentice jockey Aidan Keeley.

The 21-year-old charged through the field in the final stages of the race to secure the win for trainer Mick Channon as favourite Mujtaba (5/1) failed to impress.

The race also saw 66/1 runner Caradoc finish in fourth, along with outsiders Bell Rock and Dual Identity in second and third, respectively.

Meanwhile, 10/3 joint-second-favourite Blackbeard, piloted by Ryan Moore and saddled by Aiden O’Brien, powered clear to the take the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, the seventh win in the Group 1 for Ballydoyle and the Coolmore Stud.

Gill said: “Despite 5/1 favourite Mujtaba disappointing and Majestic striking late and holding on gamely to win at 25/1, extra each way places and some well supported horses in behind, that one went the way of the punters.

Matchbook’s Aidan O’Sullivan said the lack of Premier League action and diminishing appetite for international football meant punters flocked to horseracing over the weekend.

He said: “A quieter weekend with the Nations League not exactly catching the imagination of our customer base, but Saturday’s action at Newmarket moved the needle in a much bigger way.

“The winner was Majestic was a 25/1 shot with the bookmakers and went off 34.0 with Matchbook. This was a race for the layers, with the top four all at least double-figure prices. Included was fourth place Caradoc who was 66/1 with the bookmakers but went off at 120.0 with Matchbook.

“The rest of Saturday’s Newmarket card saw plenty of favourites beaten, but Blackbeard was a popular winner of the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, sent off a well-backed 10/3 (4.33) vs 4.9 with Matchbook.”

Betfred | Horseracing | Kindred | Matchbook | NFL | Sports betting | UEFA Nations League

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