The UEFA Nations League has witnessed a number of fixtures over the past week. Here are some talking points from the action.
Critical times for Germany
Germany have lost all hope of winning Group 1 in League A, and they could be relegated to League B if the Netherlands win at home to France. Their last two consecutive outings saw them lose away to the Dutch and French, with the latter firmly in control of this group. Germany’s hopes are now reliant on the outcome of the match between France and the Netherlands. If the Dutch lose to France, then they will be in need of a draw to stave off relegation. And if that were to be the case then Germany will have to win by four goals to stay up due to the head to head record. Clearly, the Germans find themselves in a very precarious position and it will be interesting to watch how things pan out from now.
Group 4 is an open affair
Group 4 of League A is one interesting group as three teams are still in contention for a top spot with Spain, England and Croatia all gunning for the position. Spain need to win against Croatia, as failure open the door for England would win the group with a home victory over Croatia. Croatia for their part need to win both those matches to finish first, whilst England would definitely be relegated should they lose at home to Croatia. This is going to be one fascinating group to look out for in November during the next break.
Spain weaknesses exposed
Spain’s 3-2 defeat to England in Sevilla on Monday night opened our eyes to a number of flaws in the Spanish side that we have not seen since Luis Enrique took charge. England were able to capitalise on their defensive lapses, unlike Croatia who failed to score from two clear-cut chances that they had before Spain ran riot against them. Their high defensive line also leaves a lot of space for pacy forwards to exploit on the break. This situation is not helped by the aging legs of Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique. Enrique will need to find a solution to this problem, otherwise they will be picked on by teams who figure out how to hurt them.
Edin Dzeko’s double gave Bosnia & Herzegovina a 2-0 victory over Northern Ireland in the UEFA Nations League on Monday. The fixture was not just another football match for Dzeko, who achieved two personal milestones. The first goal saw him score the 300th career goal for club and country, whilst the second strike saw him join the top ten European international goal scorers off all time, with 55 for his national side. His achievement will see Wayne Rooney drop out of the top ten in the rankings to create space for the Bosnian international.
Finland form to pay off?
Finland managed to win all four of their Nations League games and only need a point in Greece to secure promotion and a Euro 2020 playoff in the next game. However, they run the risk of being overhauled on the final day if they lose by more than two goals. They will be hoping to ride on their momentum to at least secure a draw, something that will not come easy against a Greece side at home. That is not to say they don’t stand a chance, since they have demonstrated their determination up until now.