UEFA Nations League matchday review
This stage of November bought an international break, and also the last matchday of the UEFA Nations League group stages. Let’s start with League A. In Group 1, Netherlands, the biggest disappointment in world football in the recent years, has managed to qualify for the Nations League finals by finishing first in the group after the lest two matches had them beating France 2-0 and drawing 2-2 with Germany. World champions France come second, and retain their place in League A for the upcoming tournament, while Germany relegated to League B after scoring only 2 points. In Group 2, surprisingly, Switzerland secured the Nations League spot after a 5-2 victory over Belgium, while Iceland relegated after failing to score a single point in four matches. Group 3 has Portugal qualified for the Finals after a 0-0 draw with Italy ahead of their match with Poland, who, despite putting on a tougher front than they did at the World Cup, have failed to score more than one point in the group so far, thus relegating to League B. And last, but not least, Group 4 provided a quite interesting twist, with Croatia’s 3-2 victory over Spain ahead of their game with England, and the World Cup runners-up only needed a win to make it to the Finals, or at least a draw not to relegate. They took the lead in the second half, but the Three Lions scored twice to make it 2-1 at the end. Resulting in England’s qualification from the first place, with seven points, while Spain finished second with six, and Croatia, with four, relegated.
As for League B, there have been quite a few twists. In Group 1, Ukraine earned promotion despite their last game being a heavy 1-4 defeat to Slovakia, who themselves relegated after losing 0-1 to Czech Republic. In Group 2, Turkey relegated to League C after a home defeat to Sweden (0-1), and the promotion decider between Russia and Sweden will be played later on today. Russia are first place with a three points advantage, but Sweden has the advantage of playing as the home team. In Group 3, Bosnia promoted after a 0-0 with Austria, finishing the group with 10 points. The last match had second place Austria a 2-1 away win with a last minute strike by Lazaro to deny already relegated Northern Ireland their first point in the group. In Group 4, Denmark promoted after a 2-1 win over Wales in Cardiff, and a 0-0 home draw with Ireland, who relegated.
League C will have to wait the end of the day to reach its conclusion, at least for two groups. In Group 1, Scotland and Israel are battling for promotion today, while Albania cannot be either promoted or relegated. Group 2 had Finland, with 10 points, promoting after coming close with its top competitors Hungary and Greece. Hungary finished second, after a 2-0 triumph over Finland, Greece finished third after a home loss to Estonia (0-1), while Estonia relegated. Group 3 had Norway (11 points) promoting albeit close competition with Bulgaria; the Bulgarians finished second, Cyprus third, albeit with the risk of a possible relegation as the lowest rank third place, while Slovenia already relegated. In Group 4, Serbia and Romania are playing with Lithuania and Montenegro, respectively. Serbia has 11 points and it’s hard to believe it will lose to an already relegated Lithuania, while Romania (9 points) has slim chances of promoting in the case of that unlikely miracle, but the gap with Montenegro is only 2 points so they could end up in third place in the case of a loss.
League D, the lowest tier, saw the promotions of Georgia, Belarus, Kosovo and Macedonia.