The UEFA Nations League dominates the September international break, with the 2022/23 campaign reaching its conclusion this month. That means promotions, relegations and progressing to the finals.
Plenty is at stake for everyone, particularly those in League A and those at the top of League B hoping to get into League A for next time.
Here’s a look at eight of the best games to keep an eye on…
Scotland vs Ukraine – 21 September, 19:45 (BST) ITV4/Premier Sports 1
These teams met in a poignant World Cup play-off semi-final in June, heavily delayed from March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. One of them will will be playing in League A next time.
If Scotland win, they will go top of the group. If Ukraine do, they will extend their lead to four points. They even face each other once more six days later that could decide everything, but this is a great way to kick things off for the international week.
Belgium vs Wales – 22 September, 19:45 (BST) S4C/Premier Sports 1
Belgium and Wales have often crossed paths in recent years, with the latter often cropping up as a bogey team to the nation that has consistently been ranked among the best in the world since 2015.
This is a repeat of the Euro 2016 quarter-final, with Wales also holding Belgium to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture of this campaign. The Welsh are fighting against relegation from League A and could yet also derail Belgium’s hopes of making the finals.
France vs Austria – 22 September, 19:45 (BST) Premier Extra
Reigning world champions France are bizarrely struggling in this Nations League campaign and are threatened with relegation to League B. Their only realistic chance of saving themselves is by catching and overtaking Austria, with the two to meet in Paris this week.
The French are badly hit by injuries at the moment too, with Paul Pogba, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Hugo Lloris and Kingsley Coman just some of those missing. An upset could be on the cards.
Italy vs England – 23 September, 19:45 (BST) Channel 4
This isn’t the first time that England and Italy have faced each other since the Euro 2020 final, with a 0-0 draw in Wolverhampton coming in June. But this is still a premier fixture on the international calendar between two of the best in Europe.
It takes on even more meaning because of England’s struggles so far. The Three Lions are win-less in this Nations League campaign and could be relegated if they don’t get it together quickly.
Germany vs Hungary – 23 September, 19:45 (BST) Premier Sports 1
In the same group, Germany’s clash with Hungary could play a major part in deciding who progresses to the finals. Hungary have been the surprise package so far, recording back-to-back wins over England and holding Germany to a draw in Budapest in June.
Now, Hungary have a one-point lead ahead of Germany as they prepare to meet in the penultimate fixture. If Hungary win, they would secure their finals place there and then.
Netherlands vs Belgium – 25 September, 19:45 (BST) Premier Sports 2
Netherlands and Belgium co-hosted Euro 2000 what is now decades ago and are two of the more exciting teams of Europe, both packed full of attacking talent. It is also a case young versus old as an up and coming Dutch side takes on a well established Belgian squad.
Netherlands could have already won the Nations League group by then, but this final round fixture is still sure to be entertaining.
England vs Germany – 26 September, 19:45 (BST) Channel 4
Any England/Germany game is not to be missed because of the historic sporting rivalry that dates back to the 1966 World Cup final.
Harry Kane scored a late equaliser from the penalty spot in the reverse fixture in Munich in June and both teams will likely still have something to play for – Germany are going for a place in the Nations League finals and England are fighting against relegation to League B.
Portugal vs Spain – 27 September, 19:45 (BST) BoxNation
Portugal and Spain played out one of the great World Cup group games when they drew 3-3 in 2018 and always two of the most popular sides on the international scene.
There has actually been no winner (excluding penalties) in any of the last five games between the Iberian neighbours. The last time either emerged victorious in 90 or 120 minutes was in November 2010 when Portugal won 4-0. Spain’s last win (again, excluding penalties) was at the 2010 World Cup.
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