UEFA Nations League Roundup
The Netherlands beat France to stay in Finals contention and relegate Germany as Denmark pipped Wales to promotion.
Group A1: Netherlands 2-0 France
The Netherlands will pip France to the Finals on Monday with a draw in Germany, who have been relegated with this result. Ronald Koeman’s side began well at the Stadion Feijenoord and took the lead just before the interval, Georginio Wijnaldum finishing low past Hugo Lloris. The Dutch remained on top in the second half, only for Lloris to produce a series of fine saves, but France’s skipper could do nothing to stop Memphis Depay’s late chipped penalty, which sealed a memorable win.
Group B1: Slovakia 4-1 Ukraine
Slovakia got off the mark in the group and became the only team to take points off already-promoted Ukraine. A clever free-kick, as Marek Hamšík rolled the ball to Albert Rusnák, broke the deadlock and Juraj Kucka doubled up from distance before the half-hour. Yevhen Konoplyanka reduced the deficit early in the second half but Adam Zreľák and Róbert Mak soon made it 4-1. However, regardless of this result, Slovakia have to win in Czech Republic on Monday to avoid relegation.
Group B4: Wales 1-2 Denmark
Denmark secured promotion to League A with an away victory that denied pre-match leaders Wales, for whom Chris Gunter won a 92nd cap to equal Neville Southall’s national record. Wales dominated the early stages but could not force a breakthrough and just before half-time were hit on the counter, a swift move finished off by Nicolai Jørgensen. In a dramatic finale, Martin Braithwaite made it 2-0 and Gareth Bale quickly responded, but Wales could not level.
Group C3: Slovenia 1-1 Norway
Slovenia were relegated as they failed to hold on to their early advantage. Captain Benjamin Verbič fired in the ninth-minute opener to cap a direct move involving Andraž Šporar and Domen Črnigoj. However, Norway laid siege to the home goal thereafter and were finally rewarded when substitute Bjorn Johnsen headed in Håvard Nordtveit’s cross to keep the visitors top of the group, above Bulgaria on overall goal difference.
Group C3: Cyprus 1-1 Bulgaria
Cyprus’s promotion hopes ended amid late drama. Debutant Panagiotis Zachariou latched on to Chambos Kyriakou’s ball over the top before sweeping in a composed first-half finish and the hosts held firm until the last minute, when Kostas Laifis clipped Ivelin Popov in the area and Nikolay Dimitrov rescued a precious point from the spot for Bulgaria.
Group D4: Liechtenstein 0-2 FYR Macdonia
FYR Macedonia moved within a point of promotion while also curtailing Liechtenstein’s hopes. The game changed at the start of the second half as Liechtenstein’s Sandro Wieser received his second yellow card and Enis BardI curled in a free-kick. Ilija Nestorovski sealed victory in added time.
Group D4: Gibraltar 2-6 Armenia
Armenia will be promoted on Monday if they beat Liechtenstein and FYR Macedonia lose to Gibraltar after this victory. Four-goal Yura Movsisyan quelled a Gibraltar side who initially led through Tjay De Barr. The Chicago Fire forward cancelled out that breakaway goal, then hit a seven-minute hat-trick soon after half-time. Artur Kartashyan and Aleksandre Karapetyan added further strikes to eliminate Gibraltar, avenging Armenia’s shock home loss last month.