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        Nations League preview: Who's looking to the finals?

        2022/09/20 15:22
        E0

        The Nations League returns this international break for the final group games of the 2022/2023 season with plenty to play for.

        Playmaker looks at the teams looking towards the finals and those precariously looking at the trap door ahead of the last few games...


        Who is heading for the finals?

        Group A1:

        Denmark are leading the group by two points over second-place Croatia but have two tricky final games against Croatia and France to play.

        Ralph Rangnick’s Austria team are in third and also have a chance to get promoted but having only four points means that it’s highly unlikely and they’ll need to win both of their games and hope that Denmark don’t.

        Group A2:

        ©Getty / DeFodi Images
        Everyone can technically qualify for the Nations League finals in Group A2 although it’s hard to look past either Spain on eight points or Portugal on seven. Both teams face each other in Braga on the 27th of September in what could be a crunch game.

        The Czech Republic and Switzerland, on four and three points respectively, will also prove difficult roadblocks to the top two.

        Group A3:

        Hungary are the surprise leaders of a group that includes Germany, Italy, and England with just two points separating the top three teams as England languish behind.

        It would be an incredible achievement if the Hungarians are to reach the final stage but they will first need positive results against Germany and Italy in their final two games.

        Group A4:

        Only neighbours Netherlands and Belgium can qualify from Group A4 with Poland and Wales both mathematically out of the running. On Thursday, the Netherlands face Poland and Belgium take on Wales but both of the top two dukes it out on Sunday for what could be a crucial game.


        Who is looking at relegation?

        Both of the home nations in Group A are in danger of relegation. England’s Nations League woes have seen them yet to win again and lose twice to Hungary including the 4-0 drubbing at Molineux. Wales are also winless with Belgium and Poland to play in their final games.

        In Group A1, France have played four, won zero, drawn two, and lost two. They can save themselves in their final games against Austria and Denmark.

        Moving down the ‘B’ groups, the Republic of Ireland and Armenia are both looking at a potential exit from Group 1. It’s a similar situation for Finland and Romania in Group 3 and Sweden and Slovenia in Group 4.

        For obvious reasons, Russia are already relegated from Group 2.

        In the ‘C’ groups, Lithuania are yet to win a point and will have to fight for their survival. In Group 2, Northern Ireland and Cyprus are both only on two points each. It’s hard to see past Belarus and Gibraltar getting relegated from the other groups. However, unlike Groups A and B, only two teams are moved down from Group C, with the teams set to face off in play-offs to keep their places in 2024.

        Finally, once you’ve hit the ‘D’ groups the only way is up with teams only able to be promoted.

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