UEFA Nations League: what to look out for on Thursday | UEFA Nations League
The third edition of the UEFA Nations League is well under way, with four matchdays played and two more before the final in June 2023.
UEFA.com assess the layout of the pitch ahead of Thursday’s matchday five fixtures.
Thursday September 22
Group A1 France – Austria
Group A1 Croatia – Denmark
Group A4 Belgium – Wales
Group A4 Poland – Netherlands
Group C1 Turkey vs Luxembourg
Group C1 Lithuania – Faroe Islands
Group C3 Kazakhstan – Belarus (4:00 p.m.)
Group C3 Slovakia – Azerbaijan
Group D1 Latvia – Moldova (6:00 p.m.)
Group D1 Liechtenstein – Andorra
All kick-off times 8:45 p.m. CET, unless otherwise stated
Croatia wants to rebuild Denmark
After opening their campaign with a 3-0 home loss to Austria, Croatia held off world champions France to a 1-1 draw before posting back-to-back wins over Denmark and Les Bleus . Thursday’s victory would see the Vatreni edge ahead of Kasper Hjulmand’s side at the top of the group.
The UEFA EURO 2020 semi-finalists’ home loss to Croatia in June was their only defeat in the group stage so far and followed eye-catching triumphs in Vienna and Paris respectively. After finding their way back to winning ways at home against Austria last time out, another victory here would secure them a place in the final.
Key stat: Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg has recorded more ball recoveries (35) than any other player in the competition so far.
France fights for its survival against Austria
Holders France can no longer reach the final after picking up just two points from their four group matches in June. Didier Deschamps’ side, yet to win at home after losing to Denmark and Croatia in Paris, recovered from a 1-1 draw in Vienna in the previous encounter thanks to a late Kylian effort Mbappe.
Austria must win at the Stade de France and hope that further results will allow them to maintain their slim hopes at the top of the group. A 3-0 win at Osijek on Matchday 1 proved a false dawn for Ralf Rangnick’s side, who went on to lose home and away to Denmark and draw with France in the Ernst-Happel-Stadion.
Key stat: France had lost only one game in their history in the League of Nations before this campaign.
Belgium fights to stay in contention
Belgium bounced back from a heavy opening day loss to the Netherlands with a resounding 6-1 triumph at home to Poland. However, Brennan Johnson’s late equalizer at Cardiff in June left Roberto Martínez’s side in an uphill battle to reach a second consecutive Nations League final – they are three points behind a Dutch side they faced in their last game.
That 1-1 draw remains the Dragons’ only point so far, but Robert Page’s side have performed well in tight defeats to Poland and the Oranje (home and away). Page expects a similar grainy display in Brussels.
Key stat: Leandro Trossard and Michy Batshuayi are the only players to score twice for the Red Devils in Group A4.
The Dutch on the verge of the second final
Louis van Gaal’s side will advance to the final if they win in Warsaw and Belgium fail to beat Wales. Only two teams – Turkey and Georgia – have found the net more often than the Netherlands in this season’s competition and they will be confident of continuing their rich vein of form in front of goal against a slippery Polish defence.
Czesław Michniewicz’s Poland will be relishing their 2-2 draw in Rotterdam earlier in the competition – a game in which they were leading 2-0 early in the second half. And with Robert Lewandowski in impressive form at club level, the hosts will relish their chances of claiming another positive result.
Key stat: Memphis Depay scored three goals in as many Nations League appearances in 2022 but missed a last-minute penalty in the 2-2 draw with Poland.
• In Group C1, Turkey will be promoted to League B if they avoid home defeat to Luxembourg while Lithuania must win against the Faroe Islands to avoid the relegation play-offs.
• Kazakhstan will be promoted to League B if they beat Belarus in Group C3.
• Latvia, who have a 100% record, will be promoted to League C if they avoid defeat at home to Moldova.
Days 5 and 6: September 22-27, 2022
Draw for the final: to be confirmed
Semi-finals: June 14 & 15, 2023
Final and match for third place: June 18, 2023
Play-outs: March 21–23 & 24–26, 2024