The 2022/23 UEFA Nations League group stage is reaching its climax as September’s international break serves to complete the final two rounds of the newest international competition.
While several continental big guns will train their sights on locking down a place in the knock-outs, some others will be out to save their dignity after performing embarrassingly in the opening four rounds.
Let’s take a look at the five most exciting Nations League fixtures to keep an eye on in September.
Italy vs England – 23/09/2022
In a repeat of the Euro 2020 grand final, Italy and England will go head-to-head at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in a mouth-watering Nations League Group A/3 rematch.
The spoils were shared in a tepid goalless draw when the two European heavyweights clashed against each other at Wembley Stadium in June as they meet again in a bottom-table six-pointer.
While the Italians’ 2-1 home triumph over Hungary on matchday two stands as their solitary group success thus far (D2, L1), Gareth Southgate’s men have yet to get off the mark after four games (D2, L2).
Graham Potter’s appointment at Chelsea has saved Southgate from a dismal, but the FA is still on the lookout for a new gaffer, according to The Telegraph.
Since another stalemate won’t benefit either team, this handsomely-looking encounter should be a feast for neutrals, though neither manager would like to be on the losing side comes Friday.
Denmark vs France – 25/09/2022
Reigning world champions France face imminent danger of being demoted to League B following an abysmal four-match winless start to their Group A/1 campaign (D2, L2).
Pinned to the bottom of the standings, Les Bleus kick off September’s international break at home to Austria before taking a trip to Parken Stadium to meet high-flying Denmark.
Unlike their visitors, the surprise package of Euro 2020 would make a massive step towards reaching the Nations League knock-outs with a win after racking up three victories from their four group stage fixtures (L1).
Sitting two points clear of current runners-up Croatia, Kasper Hjulmand’s men came from behind to beat France 2-1 in a curtain-raising Group A/1 showdown in Paris.
Netherlands vs Belgium – 25/09/2022
Sunday’s all-Benelux region match pits the Group A/4 leaders Netherlands against second-placed Belgium in their final 2022/23 Nations League group stage outing.
Louis van Gaal’s side dismantled FIFA’s #2-ranked nation 4-1 in the opening round in their own backyard and has since gone unbeaten in all three subsequent group games (W2, D1).
Clear-cut favourites to take home all three points against Poland on matchday five, the Dutch side should have the progression fate firmly in their hands ahead of Belgium’s visit to the Johan Cruijff Arena.
The Netherlands vs Belgium, alongside all other Nations League fixtures in September, are available to watch online via soccer live streams.
England vs Germany – 26/09/2022
Only three days after their trip to Meazza, England will play host to section-pacesetters Germany at Wembley for another clash of the continental titans.
Harry Kane converted a late penalty to rescue a 1-1 draw for the Three Lions in Munich in the reverse fixture, extending England’s unbeaten run against the Germans to three matches, including friendlies (W1, D2).
Like their hosts, Die Mannschaft’s performances in the ongoing Nations League season have flattered to deceive, as a 5-2 home thumping of Italy last time out served to halt a three-game winless start (D3).
Though the bookmakers fancy England to put all three points on the board more heavily, Germany’s battle with Hungary for a top place in this highly competitive Group A/3 should force them to go all-out for a win.
Portugal vs Spain – 27/09/2022
Estadio Municipal de Braga, the home of Sporting Braga, forms the backdrop for a blockbuster Nations League match-up between Portugal and Spain.
With only one point separating the Iberian giants coming into September’s international break, this clash could determine the fate of Group A/2.
Unbeaten after the opening four Nations League outings (W2, D2), even a draw in Braga may do the trick for the section-toppers Spaniards, provided they win a home game against Switzerland on matchday five.
On the other hand, nothing less than perfection would do for Fernando Santos’ side after a 1-0 defeat in Switzerland last time out curtailed their three-game unbeaten group stage start (W2, D1).