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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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Germany & England lose; Hungary on verge of finals

Friday night saw more action at every level of the Nations League as the 2022/23 group stage nears its conclusion. Some promotions and relegations have already been confirmed, while others have positioned themselves ready for the final round of matches next week.

Here’s a summary of everything that happened…

Nations League A, Group 3

England have been relegated from League A for the first time after defeat in Milan against Italy left them too far adrift at the bottom of their group with a game still left to play. Giacomo Raspadori scored the only goal of a low quality match in the second half.

19-year-old Jude Bellingham impressed for England, but Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling were all too quiet. Declan Rice also failed to put his stamp on proceedings.

From being in danger of relegation had they lost, Italy could even reach the finals if they can beat group leaders Hungary on Monday.

Unexpected group leaders Hungary put one foot in the finals with another victory. Adam Szalai scored just 17 minutes into the contest and although Germany utterly dominated possession, both sides created a similar number of chances.

Hungary will reach the finals as long as they avoid defeat to Italy at home in three days’ time.

Nations League B, Group 3

There was nothing to split Finland and Romania as both continue to fight off the threat of relegation to League C. Teemu Pukki netted early in the contest, with an equaliser from Florin Tanase soon after the interval to leave things delicately poised ahead of matchday six.

Finland hold a one-point advantage over Romania in the standings, but one will be relegated.

Bosnia, meanwhile, have secured promotion to League A for the next edition of the Nations League thanks to their narrow victory over Balkan neighbours.

Ermedin Demirovic scored the only goal of the game in first half stoppage time.

Nations League C, Group 4

Bulgaria put to bed any faint threat of shock relegation to League D by thrashing Gibraltar with their first win of this Nations League campaign. They cannot be caught and Gibraltar drop down instead.

Valentin Antov opened the scoring, although Gibraltar did cause a scare with an immediate equaliser – that proved to be their only shot on target. Kiril Despodov restored the lead before half-time and Bulgaria eventually pulled away after the break.

Georgia sealed their place in League B next time out by beating promotion rivals North Macedonia to go six points clear with only one game left to play.

An own goal from Bojan Miovski got the ball rolling in the first half, with in-form Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia sealing the victory just over an hour in.

Nations League D, Group 2

An 86th minute winner from Estonia’s Henri Anier secured victory over Malta. A penalty deep into first half stoppage time had put the Baltic state ahead, with a Maltese penalty making it 1-1 early in the second half. The result puts Estonia three points ahead of Malta in the standings.

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