UEFA Nations League – Matchday 1, September 4
Matchday 1 of the UEFA Nations League continued to bring surprises on Friday. Here are the updates.
League A – Italy Equalizes, Poland Passive
Two matches of group 1 played out on September 4. Surprisingly, Italy had a bit of a challenge against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite solid ball control and strong attacks, it was the Bosnians who scored the first goal. Ten minutes later, Italy equalized. This was a slow start for Italy and they are going to have to step up their game, as the Netherlands presents a true challenge.
Speaking of which, the Netherlands scored a single goal against Poland. Poland, on the other hand, spent most of the game on their side of the field. Furthermore, they amassed 5 yellow cards and had virtually no contact with the ball. As it stands, this puts the Netherlands at the top of group 1.
League B – Magennis Gets a Red Card
Northern Ireland was really in a pickle against Romania. George Pușcaș scored the first goal. Josh Magennis crippled his own team by getting two yellow cards in the first half of the game. Had Gavin Whyte not saved the day near the end of the match, NI would have sucked to the bottom of group 1.
Luckily for NI, Norway lost to Austria. The Austrians were simply more invested in what was going on on the pitch. Michael Gregoritsch scored the first goal and Marcel Sabitzer started the second half with a successful penalty kick. Erling Haaland, who also plays for Borussia Dortmund, fought back with a goal in the 66th minute.
Group 2 had its fair share of gems. Firstly, the Israelis held their own against Scotland, getting a score of 1-1. However, the real star of the group is the Czech Republic with their impressive win against Slovakia. The winners kept taking shots at the goal and three stuck. Ivan Schranz delivered the goal that saved Slovakia’s face from complete humiliation. This happened two minutes after Michael Krmenčík was the third player to shake Slovakia’s net. Finally, the score was 3-1. Remarkably, there were a total of 41 fouls, which could possibly be the highest number of penalized actions in a single match this season.
League C – 2 Goals Each
Relegation threatens two teams in group 4. Lithuania could not penetrate Kazakhstan’s defense and lost with 0-2. Similarly, Belarus lost to Albania with the same result. If things do not change, either Lithuania or Belarus is going to go down a level. However, it is too early to tell.
Honestly, we expected more from the Italians. Northern Ireland faces a bit of bad luck, but they are standing their ground. The Czechs are riding the high of this victory and the goal difference is going to count for a lot in the coming matches. That being said, this is only the beginning. There is plenty of time and a plethora of matches ahead.