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UEFA Nations League – Review

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Andriy Schevcenko’s Ukraine secured a memorable 1-0 victory on former World Cup Winners Spain, while their Group A4 rivals Germany drew with Switzerland in a six-goal bonanza match.

Luis Enrique’s Spain side remain top by a point as a result, but they left Kiev with nothing after Viktor Tsygankov came off the bench to hand Ukraine a 1-0 victory, breaking straight between the central defenders to collect Andriy Yarmolenko’s precise pass and fire past David de Gea.

Sergio Ramos (down) of Spain in action against Eduard Sobol (L), Evgen Makarenko (C) and Illia Zabarnyi (R) of Ukraine in action during the UEFA Nations League group stage, league A, group 4 soccer match between Ukraine and Spain in Kiev, Ukraine, 13 October 2020. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

With or without Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal remain one of the most impressive teams in Europe as they showed once again with their 3-0 Nations League win over Sweden on Wednesday.

The 35-year-old was ruled out of the match on Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19 and flew back to Italy, where he plays for Juventus, before Wednesday’s game to sit out at least 10 days in quarantine.

In the other group match, Switzerland took an early lead thanks to a header from Gavronavic. Freuler added to the score with a fantastic chip before Werner got the Germans back in the game.

Germany’s Marcel Halstenberg (L) in action against Switzerland’s Cedric Itten (R) during the UEFA Nations League group stage, league A, group 4 soccer match between Germany and Switzerland in Cologne, Germany, 13 October 2020. EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH

The second half was where all the drama started, however, as Havertz equalised before Gavronavic made it 3-2 to the Swiss. Bayern’s Serge Gnabry’s delightful flick then secured a draw for the Germans, with coach Loew coming under scrutingy for a disappointing defensive performance.

Italy, Netherlands share spoils

Italy’s Ciro Immobile (L) in action during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Italy and Netherlands, Bergamo, Italy, 14 October 2020. EPA-EFE/PAOLO MAGNI

Italy extended their unbeaten run to 19 games with a 1-1 draw at home to the Netherlands on Wednesday, although they were knocked off the top of their Nations League group in the process.

Lorenzo Pellegrini put Italy ahead in the 16th minute of an entertaining game but Donny van de Beek levelled nine minutes later as the Dutch ended a run of three games without scoring.

Italy, with six points from four games, were overtaken at the top of League A Group One by Poland who beat Bosnia 3-0 and have seven. The Dutch are third with five.

Danes win at Wembley

Christian Eriksen’s penalty on his 100th appearance for Denmark earned his side a 1-0 win over England in their Nations League clash at Wembley on Wednesday as the hosts played more than half the game with 10 men.

Daniel Wass of Denmark (L) and Kalvin Phillips of England (R) in action during the UEFA Nations League match between England and Denmark in London, Britain, 14 October 2020. EPA-EFE/Toby Melville / POOL

Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eriksen powered his spot-kick past Jordan Pickford in the 35th minute, a couple of minutes after England centre back Harry Maguire had received a red card for a second booking.

Defeat ended a run of nine successive home wins for England, who beat top-ranked Belgium on Sunday, while Denmark, who have lost just two of their last 40 international matches, celebrated their first victory over England at Wembley since 1983.

To rub salt into the home wounds Reece James, England’s best player on his full debut, was also shown a red card after the final whistle for confronting referee Jesus Gil Manzano.

England slipped to third place in Group A2 which is now headed by Belgium with Denmark above England on goal difference.

France beat Croatia – again

France stretched their unbeaten run against Croatia to eight games after a late goal by Kylian Mbappe gave the world champions a 2-1 win in their Nations League top-tier Group 3 match on Wednesday.

Croatia’s Mario Pasalic (L) in action against France’s Lucas Digne (R) during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Croatia and France in Zagreb, Croatia, 14 October 2020. EPA-EFE/ANTONIO BAT

The result left France second in the group on 10 points from four games, behind Portugal on goal difference after the European champions brushed aside Sweden 3-0. Croatia have three points and the Swedes none.

France beat Croatia 4-2 in the 2018 World Cup final before defeating them by the same score in last month’s reverse Nations League fixture.

via Reuters

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