European football matchday: Denmark, Netherlands can reach UEFA Nations League final four
Netherlands and Denmark could become the first teams to book their places in the UEFA Nations League Finals.
A look at what’s happening in European football on Thursday:
UEFA Nations League, LEAGUE A, GROUP 1
Denmark can win the group and qualify for the final four next year by winning away to Croatia. But the Croats can move into pole position with a victory in Zagreb and will be confident after winning at defending champion France in the previous game.
The Danes hold a two-point lead over the Croats, who will be safe from relegation if they avoid defeat or if France does not win at home to Austria.
A win for Austria at Stade de France will relegate France to the second tier and ensure Austria stays up.
Austria have an outside shot at qualifying with a victory and a Danish defeat.
France coach Didier Deschamps has nine regular players injured, including goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris. That gives AC Milan’s Mike Maignan a chance to stake his claim for a starting place at the World Cup. Meanwhile, his club teammate Olivier Giroud needs three goals to equal Thierry Henry’s national scoring record of 51.
UEFA Nations League, LEAGUE A, GROUP 4
The Netherlands and Belgium can set up a head-to-head on Sunday for the right to finish in first place and qualify for the final four next year if they both win their next-to-last group games against Poland and Wales, respectively.
The Dutch are unbeaten and lead on 10 points — more than any other team in the top-tier groups — and are likely to start Memphis Depay even though the winger is spending a lot of time on the bench at Barcelona.
Belgium are three points back in second place and must at least match Netherlands’ result to have a chance of topping the group. Only the first-place team goes through to the finals.
Wales will be playing for the first time since Robert Page was hired as its full-time coach.
Brazil football legend Pele was hospitalised this week amid ongoing cancer treatments.
Pele was hospitalised on Tuesday for respiratory infection amid ongoing treatments for colon cancer, a condition first diagnosed in September 2021.
Pele, widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time, was hospitalized earlier this week amid ongoing colon cancer treatments.