PARIS – The UEFA Nations League group stage started its matchday 5 on Thursday, as France, Netherlands, Belgium and Croatia had their winnings in all the four games.
France, the defending champion, defeated Austria 2-0 at home, to rise from the bottom of Group 1 to third place with five points, while Austria fell to fourth place with four points.
With the goals from top superstar Kylian Mbappe and aged 35 striker Olivier Giroud, Les Bleus are showing their recovery from previous poor performance, although there are few of main players absent in the current squad due to injuries, including Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and captain Hugo Lloris.
With the victory, France could avoid themselves from being relegated to the League B, which is the second tier of the tournament. However, they had failed to fight for the top and second place of Group 1.
Croatia Beat Denmark to Seize No.1
In the another match of Group 1, Croatia beat Denmark 2-1 in the home game, to take over the top place from their opponent.
After the three points added, the World Cup 2018 runner-up are having 10 points, 1 point ahead of Denmark, while France only 5 points and Austria have 4.
Group 4: Netherlands and Belgium Fight
In Group 4, Netherlands beat Poland 2-0 in the away game, to keep on leading the group with 13 points.
The Orange Squad showed their strength at National Stadium Warsaw, making scores by Cody Gakpo and Steven Bergwijn, while the home team’s great striker Robert Lewandowski couldn’t score after plenty of tries.
In another game, Belgium won 2-1 over Wales at King Baudouin Stadium, thanks to the scores from their playmaker Kevin de Bruyne and Michy Batshuayi, who assisted each other.
The Red Devils are now gathering 10 points, standing at second place of Group 4, three points behind Netherlands. Poland is in third place with four points, while Wales have only one point.
The clash between Netherlands and Belgium on the coming Sunday as matchday 6, might decide the top place of the group’s final standing, if Belgium won.
The Upcoming Matches
The UEFA Nations League matchday 5 will complete on this Saturday, while the matchday 6 continues on the next day.
For matchday 5, there are still few focused games between favourite teams, including Germany against Hungary, Italy facing England, Spain meeting Switzerland and Czech Republic against Portugal.
While for matchday 6, every team is preparing for the final battle of the group stage, to determine whether those teams will qualify into round of 16, or relegated into League B.
Focused matches of matchday 6 include Denmark against France, Netherlands facing Belgium, England facing Germany, Hungary against Italy, and Portugal meeting Spain.
Due to the FIFA World Cup 2022 which will be held this winter, most of the giant teams might not put much effort on the Nations League, as they are save their best condition for the greatest football tournament worldwide. However, this could also be an opportunity for them to examine their squad and tactics.