Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Nations League 26/9/22 Roundup: Italy Qualify For Finals; England Break Scoring Duck

The final group stage fixtures of the 2022/23 Nations League are taking place across Europe this week and teams are looking to reach the finals, achieve promotion or avoid relegation.

England’s dire campaign came to an end in entertaining fashion as they hosted Germany, while Italy and Hungary scrapped it out for first place in that group.

Here’s your roundup from Monday night’s games.

Nations League A, Group 3

England 3-3 Germany

England had already been relegated from Nations League A by the time Germany visited Wembley on Monday night. Hansi Flick’s side themselves couldn’t reach the final either, thus the stage was set for the most enthralling of dead rubbers.

It was, however, the final game before the World Cup for the Three Lions, with Gareth Southgate putting the final touches on his plans.

England managed an improved performance from the defeat to Italy during the first half but couldn’t break their duck in front of goal, even if Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden provided a threat on the counter. Germany largely bossed possession without offering a threat.

They were made to pay for that inefficiency as Harry Maguire – his name booed by supporters during the warm-up – gave the ball away to Jamal Musiala and then brought the Bayern Munich youngster down to concede a penalty. Ilkay Gundogan cooly rolled it beyond Nick Pope to make it 1-0.

England laboured in landing jabs of their own in return and went further behind as Kai Havertz whipped in a brilliant strike from range on the counter after Maguire had given the ball away.

However, England not only broke their goalless streak but drew level as they struck twice in four second-half minutes. Luke Shaw got on the end of Reece James’ cross to pull one back before substitutes Bukayo Saka and Mason Mount combined to great effect before the latter fired the hosts level.

A remarkable turnaround looked to have been completed when Harry Kane converted from the spot after Nico Schlotterbeck caught Jude Bellingham, but a howler from Nick Pope allowed Havertz to nip in and make it 3-3 just four minutes after England had finally taken the lead.

Hungary 0-2 Italy

Across Europe, Hungary and Italy were battling it out to top the group and qualify for the Nations League finals next year.

It was the visitors who struck first as a defensive mishap allowed Giacomo Raspadori to nip in and walk the ball into an empty net.

The Azzurri doubled their advantage in the second half with a wonderfully crafted team goal which ended with Bryan Cristante setting up Federico Dimarco at the back post to tap in.

Hungary did register more shots on targets than Italy, but the understrength European champions comfortably kept them at bay.

They join Croatia and the Netherlands in qualifying for the finals scheduled for next year. Either Portugal or Spain will make up the quartet, with the deciding fixtures in Group 2 to take place on Tuesday.

Nations League B, Group 3

  • Montenegro 0-2 Finland
  • Romania 4-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Nations League C, Group 4

  • Gibraltar 1-2 Georgia
  • North Macedonia 0-1 Bulgaria

Nations League D, Group 2

  • San Marino 0-4 Estonia

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