We may not have the Premier League or Europe’s heavyweights to keep us company this weekend, but Saturday’s Nations League offering has more than made up for it with a wonderfully entertaining evening of action.
There was plenty at stake on this pulsating night across Europe, with top spots, relegation places and the in-betweeners all still to be decided. On top of that, we were treated to the continent’s powerhouses going head to head, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal entertaining France, while Germany and Spain were also in action.
So, how did they all get on? Check out our Nations League roundup below.
The big news from League A Group 3 was that France defeated holders Portugal 1-0 in Lisbon, simultaneously booking their place in the final four of the competition, and ending the hosts’ incredible two year and 20-game unbeaten streak.
The two European giants played out an entertaining affair, with both sides creating plenty of chances, but we had to wait until the second half for the deadlock to be broken. That strike came from the unlikeliest of sources, as Chelsea’s goal-shy midfielder N’Golo Kanté was on hand to tap home his second ever goal for the French national side.
Portugal pushed to level the scores but ultimately came up short, meaning France cannot be surpassed at the top of the group.
Elsewhere in Group 3, Sweden picked up their first points of this year’s Nations League, defeating World Cup finalists Croatia 2-1 in Stockholm. Juventus star Dejan Kulusevski opened the scoring with a wonderful slaloming run and cool strike, before Marcus Danielsson doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time.
But it was the centre-back who gave Croatia a shred of hope, scoring an own goal to set up a nervy final eight minutes. The hosts held on to go level on points with their opponents in the group as they aim to avoid relegation.
In League A Group 4, Sergio Ramos had an absolute nightmare in his European record-setting 177th cap as Spain laboured to a 1-1 draw with Switzerland. Remo Frueler put the hosts ahead on 26 minutes, but Spain’s captain was handed the chance to level proceedings TWICE from the penalty spot, but he managed to miss both of his spot kicks. It was the first time Ramos had failed to convert from 12 yards in 25 attempts. You wait for one bus, eh…
Luckily for the Real Madrid star, Gerard Moreno was on hand to score a last-minute equaliser for Luis Enrique’s side, keeping them within touching distance of group leaders Germany.
Joachim Low’s side saw off Ukraine 3-1 in their clash, but they had to come from behind to do so on Saturday night. Roman Yaremchuk shocked the hosts with a 12th-minute strike, but ex-Manchester City star Leroy Sane levelled matters 10 minutes later.
Chelsea forward TImo Werner then put the game beyond the visitors with goals either side of half time, leaving Germany in a commanding position in the table.
There were victories for Cyprus and Malta over Luxembourg and Andorra respectively, while Latvia and the Faroe Islands drew 1-1, along with a goalless draw between Azerbaijan and Montenegro.
And finally, San Marino earned their second point of the Nations League, holding Gibraltar to a 0-0 draw in what was undoubtedly an absolute thriller.