Sports

UEFA Nations League: 5 matches you won’t want to miss


Via Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports Soccer Writer

The UEFA Nations League continues on Wednesday, with Scotland beat Ukraine 3-0 in a World Cup qualifying rematch in June. But the real competition will be on Thursday.

As is the case during the summer, FOX Sports and FuboTV will broadcast and/or stream matches on USA. Unlike those matches, which come at the end of a long and grueling season for clubs in Europe, this month’s matches will be played less than two months before. World Cup 2022 In Qatar start up.

For the 13 European nations participating in the World Cup, these Nations League matches – the end of the “tournament phase” of the 2022-23 competition, with semi-finals, finals and third place matches expected in the middle of next year – happening more important, and not just for fans across the pond.

Here are five League A games you won’t want to miss.

September 22: BelgiumWales (2:30 ET, FS1 / FuboTV)

Stick to first place Netherlands By three points in Group 4, Belgium must win this match to have a chance to overtake the Netherlands in the final of their tournament on September 25 in Amsterdam to reach the top four overall.

Even two wins won’t be enough for Wales’ final place, but Gareth Bale & Co. There’s still a lot to play this month. They are in an air war with Poland – another mid-tier national team led by a lone superstar who, in the case of the Polish scorer, Robert Lewandowski – was not relegated to League B for the Nations League 2024-25. Poland and Wales meet on September 25 in a contest that will likely determine which team survives.

Wales naturally has ambitions beyond the Nations League. The 2022 World Cup marks the first time the Wales team has participated in 64 years. For them, preparing for the main event will be as much of a priority as anything else this month. The match against Belgium will also intrigue state fans, as the US men’s national team faces Wales on November 21 in both teams’ opening match in Qatar.

September 23: GermanyHungary (2:30 ET, FS1 / FuboTV)

The hottest national team in the world right now is Germany. The four-time World Cup champion enters this match with a 13-match unbeaten streak under manager Hansi Flick, who replaced longtime coach Joachim Löw a year ago. Germany’s streak made many think they could have a fifth title to balance Brazil This waterfall. First, they will have to deal with Hungary.

The Hungarians are not among the European nations that overtake Qatar, but they have been giant killers in this Nations League. They have topped England twice in the summer – including a 4-0 loss, which was the Three Lions’ worst home defeat in nearly a century – and also held Germany 1-1. .

That game is in Budapest. This match will be played on opposing territory, with Die Mannschaft appearing 5-2 Italy In their last home game, a match wasn’t nearly as the scoreline showed. If Germany plays like that again, it could be a long night for the guests and a preview of what they will be able to do at the end of the year.

September 24: Czech RepublicPortugal (2:30 ET, FS2 / FuboTV)

Portugal looked great in their first three matches in June, taking a point en route against rivals Iberia Spain before beating the Czech Republic and then Switzerland in Lisbon with a final score of 6-0.

They then lost in a rematch against Switzerland. A win will put Cristiano Ronaldo’s The team owns only first place and is guaranteed safety in the event of a fall. Instead, the top team Spain leads Group 2 by one point. Now Portugal really has to beat the Czechs in Prague. They have the ability to do that; Ronaldo was demoted to the bench in the summer because of how piled up Fernando Santos’ squad was. But as the Swiss debacle shows, they are inconsistent.

Which Portugal will appear on Saturday? If they manage to take all three points, it will set up an irresistible finale on September 27 to determine if they or Spain move forward.

September 25: DenmarkFrance (2:30 ET, FS2 / FuboTV)

It’s possible that this ends up being billed as an antiperspirant. Don’t believe that.

Certainly, France, the defending Nations League champions, cannot repeat; With a lousy performance in June, Les Bleus squandered any chance to advance to the final four, and will instead try just not to be relegated to the continent’s second place for the next edition. of the tournament.

And Denmark, which beat World Cup hosts 2-1 in Paris in June, could secure a place in the semi-finals with a win over Croatia on Thursday, three days before a rematch against France in Copenhagen. But beating the 2018 World Cup runner-up at home won’t be easy and even if the Danes do win, it will still be interesting to see how France, the hosts. Shirt on Thursday, reach this month’s games.

Les Bleus has a history of bombarding the World Cup in the group stage after reaching the final before. They also have one of the most talented and insightful rosters in the sport. The way they perform in the next two games – and against Qatar-bound Denmark, seen by some as the black horse to win the World Cup – will tell us a lot about how they have come to be. may win when it hits the global stage later this year.

September 26: EnglandGermany (2:45 ET, FS1 / FuboTV)

Like France, England failed to reach four finals. Like France, they need points just to stay at the top of the table. And just like France, the award they really wanted to be presented on December 18 in Doha.

England have been so terrible in the summer – going 0W-2L-2T in their four games – that you wonder if they were overrated heading into the World Cup. This is not the first time.

Then again, it’s probably unwise to draw too many conclusions from those June games. They come after the most congested England season ever. The players were exhausted. And the reality is that the Nations League doesn’t give them the level of momentum that a World Cup does.

With Qatar 2022 now just around the corner, England have everything to play for this month. Longtime coach Gareth Southgate is under a lot of pressure. There are places on the World Cup list to be won. Facing arch-enemy Germany at London’s Wembley Stadium in their final game is the perfect preparation for what lies ahead. It will tell us their exact location. Surely England will be better this month. They couldn’t be much worse.

One of the top football journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has covered the US men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was an editor for ESPN and Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.


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