UEFA 2022-23 Nations League A roundup

Germany's Joshua Kimmich
Germany's Joshua Kimmich

Yesterday in Cesena, Italy, Hungary fell behind their hosts in the first half and was unable to catch up, scoring but once in their UEFA Nations League A Group 3 match and falling 2-1 on the night.

Also on tap in Group 3, was the meeting in Munich’s Allianz Arena between two teams taking their Nations League matches seriously enough to field their first-string teams. England and Germany played to a pulsating 1-1 tie which had everything a fan, player, or coach could want. There were tackles aplenty, saves galore, lighting fast counters, great build up play, and the type of substitutions only the top national teams can afford.

Germany outplayed England for most of the match with Joshua Kimmich the man of the match, pulling all of Germany’s strings and providing the assist pass to Jonas Hofmann in the 50th minute to put Die Mannschaft deservedly in the lead. After several substitutions had transformed the game into one the English could compete in, it was a trip on Harry Kane in the German box which allowed Kane himself to convert the penalty that would draw the teams even.

World Cup holders, France, have yet to take the tournament seriously enough to play all of their top-shelf starters at once which has resulted in a 1-1 draw away to Croatia and a 1-2 defeat to Denmark at home.

When Portugal meet the Czech Republic in Lisbon it will be to decide the leader of Group 2 at the halfway mark of the tourney while Spain with two draws and two points sits in third place with Switzerland, sporting two losses in last place.

In Group 4, Wales, playing the Netherlands and Belgium, playing Poland will try to turn around opening day defeats—the Dutch defeating host Belgium 4-1 and the Poles defeating visiting Wales 2-1.

As of this early stage, what is of note is Germany’s overall team strength, France’s nonchalance, Croatia’s valiant efforts with an aging team, England’s total disarray, Denmark’s remarkable string of in-form matches, including Christian Eriksen’s form, a feat that has been running from the opening of last summer’s Euro, the Czech Republic and Hungary continuing to show they are no pushovers, Spain and Portugal demonstrating they will be tough competitors in Qatar this winter, the continuing Belgian on-off performances, Wales’s ability to punch above their weight when it counts, and Italy’s unfortunate let down during World Cup qualifiers—they are truly better than they played in that one game.

 

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