Belgium end England’s Nations League chances as Scotland made to wait
England’s slim hopes of returning to the UEFA Nations League finals came to an end as they were beaten 2-0 by Belgium in Group A2.
First-half strikes from Youri Tielemans and Dries Mertens proved enough to sink Gareth Southgate’s side, who were without the likes of Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire.
Tielemans grabbed the opener after 10 minutes and, after Harry Kane – making his 50th England appearance – saw a chance cleared off the line, the world’s top-ranked team doubled their lead through a brilliant Mertens free-kick.
Scotland missed a chance to clinch top spot in Group B2 as they were brought back down to earth with a bump in Slovakia.
Just days after their famous penalty shoot-out win in Serbia to qualify for the Euro 2020 finals, the Scots were sunk by a deflected long-range effort from Jan Gregus in the first half.
Oli McBurnie and Leigh Griffiths were both denied after the break, but the Scots can still win the group if they beat Israel on Wednesday.
Wales stayed top of Group B4 with a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium.
David Brooks headed the only goal of the game after 66 minutes, maintaining a one-point lead over Finland, who they face in their final group fixture in Cardiff on Wednesday.
The Republic, who were reduced to 10 men in stoppage time after Jeff Hendrick was red-carded, face a relegation decider against Bulgaria in Dublin.
There was more frustration for Northern Ireland as two late goals consigned them to a 2-1 defeat in Austria and likely relegation.
Josh Magennis gave the visitors the lead as they rebounded well from the disappointment of missing out on Euro 2020 qualification three days ago.
But late goals from Louis Schaub and Adrian Grbic turned the tie around, with Northern Ireland’s fate set to be sealed if, as expected, Romania are awarded three points from their postponed game against Norway.
Two Christian Eriksen penalties earned Denmark a narrow 2-1 win over Iceland and gives them hope of overhauling the Belgians when Group A2’s top two meet on Wednesday.
The Danes’ hopes appeared to have been extinguished when Vidar Kjartansson equalised for the visitors in the 85th minute, but Eriksen made the most of a second spot-kick opportunity deep in injury time.
Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice as Holland got their campaign back on track with a 3-1 win over Bosnia, which relegates the visitors from Group A1.
Wijnaldum scored both his goals in the opening 14 minutes, before Memphis Depay added a third, with Smail Prevljak scoring a late consolation for Bosnia.
Italy stay top of the group after a 2-0 win over Poland, and will seal victory in the group if they win in Bosnia on Wednesday.
An early Jorginho penalty and a second-half strike from Domenico Berardi clinched victory for the Italians, while Poland had Jacek Goralski sent off late on.