UEFA Nations League 2018 match highlights:
- Switzerland qualified for the finals of the tournament after defeating Belgium 5-2 in a cracker of a match
- England made the semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Croatia
- Germany was relegated to League B after the Netherlands won 2-0 against France
- A 0-0 draw saw Portugal make the semi-finals as well, ending Group C in League A on top with a game in hand
The latest round of matches in the UEFA Nations League proved that the tournament is more than just a way to make international friendlies more competitive. Having faced plenty of flak in the opening stages, the UEFA Nations League saw some absolute blinders being played out over the course of the week as teams fought for qualification to the semi-finals to be played in 2019.
Coming back to UEFA Nations League 2018 match highlights, some absolute crackers were played out over matchday 5, one that left us out of breath with teams giving it their all on the pitch. It was a week that saw three of the top 4 ranked sides in the world suffer defeats with France, Croatia and Belgium all suffering defeats to end their chances of making the last four of the event.
The week was highlighted by Switzerland Vs Belgium, a match that will go down in the books as one of the best matches of football to be played. An against the odds brilliant come-back by the Swiss saw them stun the Number 1 ranked side in the world 5-2 to clinch their qualification in the semi-finals of the Nations League.
The match that started off in perfect fashion for Belgium, saw them race into a 2-0 lead in 17 minutes with Thorgan Hazard getting a brace. It was in the 26th minute though that the match turned on its head after Chadli conceded a silly penalty, one that was successfully converted by Ricardo Rodriguez.
The goal broke of Belgium’s rhythm, finding them turn from a beautiful attacking side, into a nervy one that found it difficult to string two passes together. The hosts equalised five minutes with Haris Seferovic finding the back of the net to give life to Switzerland’s qualification hopes.
A third in the 44th minute saw Switzerland go into the second half with an unlikely lead, one they went to build on in the second half. Two goals more for them in the 62nd and 84th minute via Elvedi and Seferovic sealed a famous result, one that will scar Belgium for some time to come.
After having downed Spain 3-2 in their Group B clash, world cup finalists Croatia had things in their own hands when they took on England in the final match of the group. It was a match that had a lot riding on it, while the winner would make the finals of the tournament; the loser would be condemned to relegation to League B.
The Wembley Stadium saw the home side start of brightly, doing everything right in the first half as they attacked with vigour. If only the finishing was better, the English could have gone into the break with a comfortable lead, one that came to haunt them in the second 45 with Croatia taking a lead against the run of things in the 57th minute with Kramaric’s effort being deflected into the hosts’ goal.
Not going up, England found themselves back in the match after a scrape in the box saw Lovren fail to clear to give the English a fighting shot at qualification. Their persistent efforts paid off with striker Harry Kane sliding into time a ball into the box perfectly and see his side through to the knock-out stages.
Big boys France were at the side of another unpredicted scoreline this matchday with the world champions falling 2-0 against the Netherlands. A surprisingly poor performance by the French saw them never get going off in the match to let the Netherlands score two past them. The result means Germany are relegated ahead of their last encounter against the Netherlands. A win for the Netherlands would mean them completing the semi-final line-up.
Portugal meanwhile, who was also named the host country for the final of the UEFA Nations League, sealed their progress to the finals with a 0-0 draw against Italy. A match that saw both sides defend well and do nothing much in attack put Portugal on 7 points from 3 games, 2 ahead of Italy in Group C who have played out their entire set of matches.
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