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Germany face relegation, final spots up for grabs - Nations League state of play

14 Ноябрь 2018 15:48

Germany are in danger of suffering relegation as the inaugural Nations League nears the conclusion of the tournament's opening phase.

With the last fixtures set to be played over the next few days, teams will be seeking to round off their campaigns on a high with plenty still to be decided.

All four places in the Nations League finals remain up for grabs, while only two teams have been promoted (Georgia and Ukraine) or relegated (Iceland and Poland) so far.

Here, we bring you up to speed with all the latest Nations League permutations ahead of this week's clashes including Netherlands versus France and Italy hosting Portugal.

 

LEAGUE A: RACE FOR THE FINALS

A trophy is up for grabs at the end of the first Nations League cycle, with four teams set to compete in semi-finals and a final at the end of the 2018-19 European club season.

World Cup winners France lead the way in Group 1 with seven points from three games, but Netherlands can overhaul them with two wins in their remaining fixtures. A draw in Rotterdam on Friday would send France to the finals, though.

Belgium or Switzerland will emerge as the winners of Group 2, with a straight shoot-out between the two for the final berth. Switzerland must win by two clear goals to guarantee their progression, while Belgium only need to be victorious.

Portugal top Group 3 and only need a draw in Italy on Saturday while Roberto Mancini's men must beat the Euro 2016 champions and hope they do not take three points against Poland.

Despite losing at home to England last month, Spain remain frontrunners in Group 4 with victory in Croatia on Thursday enough to send them through to the finals at England's expense. 

RACE FOR PROMOTION

Group 1's promotion place has already been secured by Ukraine, who have three wins out of three, while Russia will emerge from Group 2 if Sweden do not beat Turkey. Russia only need a point in Solna to be certain of their status as group winners.

A point against Austria would secure Group 3's promotion place for Bosnia-Herzegovina, who have a perfect record from their three games so far, Roma's Edin Dzeko having hit three goals in the competition to date.

Group 4 is up for grabs but Wales will claim top spot if they can beat Denmark. Victory in Cardiff on Friday, though, would send the Danes into the first division.

A point in Scotland would send Israel into League B, while Alex McLeish's side need maximum points this month to keep their own promotion hopes alive.

Finland also need a single point from their games against Greece or Hungary to top Group 2, with Norway and Bulgaria battling for first place in Group 3.

Serbia will be promoted out of Group 4 on Saturday if they win at home to Montenegro and Romania fail to beat Lithuania.

Already promoted from League D are Georgia thanks to their perfect record in Group 1, while Luxembourg will join them in League C with victory over Belarus on Thursday.

Group 3's promotion place looks likely to go to Kosovo, who need to win in Malta and hope Azerbaijan do not beat the Faroe Islands. Azerbaijan need maximum points from two games to seal promotion.

Gibraltar have been one of the big success stories of the Nations League but Macedonia will pip them to Group 4's promotion place if they take four points from their remaining fixtures, the last of which is away to Gibraltar.

BATTLE AGAINST RELEGATION

League D is the bottom rung of the ladder so there is no further to fall for Group 3's San Marino, who are yet to collect a point in the Nations League.

Albania will be relegated out of League C's Group 1 unless they win in Scotland, while Group 2's bottom side Estonia will be relegated if they lose to Hungary.

Slovenia need four points from games at home to Norway and away to Bulgaria if they are to avoid relegation at the expense of Cyprus in Group 3.

Group 4's relegation place is likely to be taken up by Lithuania, who have no points so far and must win in Romania and Serbia to have any chance of staying in League C.

Slovakia could be heading for League C as they occupy bottom place in Group 1 with zero points, but Czech Republic can seal their fate with a draw in Prague on Monday.

They reached the World Cup quarter-finals but Sweden will be relegated out of Group 2 if they lose in Turkey, who would drop down if they are beaten.

Austria only need a point from their remaining two Group 3 matches to ensure Northern Ireland - yet to secure a point - drop into League C.

Republic of Ireland look set to join their near neighbours in the third tier as Martin O'Neill's side will be relegated unless Denmark lose to Wales, then they pick up three points in Aarhus.

WHY IT MATTERS

Gibraltar securing their first ever competitive victories in international football showed just how important the Nations League can be to smaller nations.

And there remains the possibility of a place in the Euro 2020 for some countries depending on how they perform in their remaining matches.

League B, C and D promoted teams go into a play-off tournament for Euro 2020 if they do not make it through the standard qualification process.

And even those sides who cannot be promoted still have something to play for as their overall Nations League ranking affects their seeding for December 2's Euro 2020 qualifying draw.

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