Football

Italy and Belgium close in on Nations League last four as England hopes end

France are the only team through to next October's semi-finals, as England miss out ahead of final set of group fixtures on Tuesday and Wednesday.

By Rory Jiwani ·

After this weekend's fixtures, just one round remains of the Nations League group stages with the winners going through to next October's semi-finals.

World Cup holders France are the first team into the last four after their 1-0 win over reigning champions Portugal in Lisbon on Saturday (14 November).

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante scored just his second international goal early in the second half, prodding the ball home from close range after Rui Patricio could only parry Adrien Rabiot's shot, to send Didier Deschamps' men through with a game to spare.

But who will join them?

Group A1 - Italians in control of their own destiny

Qualification is in Italy's hands after their 2-0 win at home to Poland on Sunday.

Jorginho's first-half penalty put the hosts ahead in Reggio-Emilia with Poland having Jacek Goralksi sent off for a second bookable offence on 77 minutes.

And Italy made their extra man count when Domenico Berardi scored six minutes from time to send them to the top of the group on nine points.

They lead the Netherlands by just one point after the 2019 Nations League runners-up beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-1 in Amsterdam.

Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice inside the first quarter of an hour with Memphis Depay adding a third 10 minutes into the second half before Smail Prevljak netted a consolation.

All this means a win for Italy away to already-relegated Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo would see them through to the semi-finals.

If they slip up, victory for the Dutch in Chorzow would put them top with hosts Poland needing to win and Italy to lose if they are to qualify.

Group A2 - Winner takes all between Belgium and Denmark

Belgium ended England's hopes of reaching the semi-finals with a 2-0 win in Leuven.

Youri Tielemans' deflected shot gave the hosts an early lead before Dries Mertens scored with a wonderful curling free-kick over the wall midway through the first half.

Only Denmark can stop Belgium progressing after they scored a dramatic 2-1 win over relegated Iceland in Parken.

The visitors looked like they might have secured their first point of the campaign when Vidar Orn Kjartansson fired home five minutes from time to cancel out Christian Eriksen's 12th minute penalty.

A draw would not have been enough for the home side but, in injury time, Hordur Magnusson handled inside the area and Eriksen converted again to keep Denmark's qualification hopes alive.

A win for the Danes in Leuven on Wednesday would see them leapfrog Belgium into top spot.

Group A3 - France defeat holders to settle group

France became the first team to reach the Nations League semi-finals after a 1-0 win over holders Portugal at Benfica's Stadium of Light.

Portugal can draw level on points with France on 13 if they win away to Croatia on Tuesday night, but France are guaranteed top spot thanks to their superior head-to-head record.

The World Cup holders' record of four wins and a draw is the best in the entire competition, and they will be fancied to make it five wins out of six when they host Sweden at the Stade de France.

Croatia and Sweden are level on three points with identical head-to-head records and goal differences, so relegation depends entirely on how they fare on Tuesday.

Group A4 - Spain and Germany to play out group decider

Germany moved into pole position with a 3-1 win over Ukraine on Saturday.

Ukraine took an early lead in Leipzig through Roman Yaremchuk but Leroy Sane and Timo Werner put the hosts ahead at half-time.

And Chelsea striker Werner scored again after the break to seal a vital win for Joachim Loew's side.

Meanwhile, previous group leaders Spain needed a late equaliser to draw 1-1 against Switzerland in Basel.

The Swiss led through Remo Freuler's superb first-time effort in the 26th minute and, after a number of good saves by Yann Sommer, only a superb goal-line clearance from Sergio Ramos stopped Haris Seferovic doubling their lead early in the second half.

Moments later, Ramos - making his 177th international appearance to overtake Gianluigi Buffon as Europe's most capped player - turned from hero to villain as Sommer got down low to tip his penalty wide after a Roberto Rodriguez handball.

With 12 minutes to go, Spain were awarded another spot-kick when Nico Elvedi brought down Alvaro Morata in goalscoring position and was sent off.

Sommer saved from Ramos again, but Spain levelled two minutes from time when Gerard Romero smashed home from Sergio Reguilon's cross.

That sets up a mouth-watering clash in Seville on Tuesday night; Spain need a win in order to progress while any other result will see Germany top the group.

Switzerland must beat Ukraine by two clear goals to avoid relegation.