UEFA Nations League: Harry Maguire sent off on bad night for England, Kylian Mbappe gets France winner

Harry Maguire was sent off for England in the first half at Wembley for two clumsy yellow cards, and Christian Eriksen then converted a 35th-minute penalty on the occasion of his 100th cap to put the Danes ahead.

Agence France-Presse October 15, 2020 08:25:05 IST
UEFA Nations League: Harry Maguire sent off on bad night for England, Kylian Mbappe gets France winner

Harry Maguire was sent off for a second bookable offence in the first half against Denmark. AP

England's prospects of returning to the finals of the Nations League suffered a big hit as Gareth Southgate's side lost 1-0 at home to Denmark on Wednesday, while Kylian Mbappe gave World Cup holders France a 2-1 victory in Croatia and Portugal won without Cristiano Ronaldo.

Harry Maguire was sent off for England in the first half at Wembley for two clumsy yellow cards, and Christian Eriksen then converted a 35th-minute penalty on the occasion of his 100th cap to put the Danes ahead.

They held on to inflict a first home defeat on England in two years, with the hosts also having young Chelsea full-back Reece James sent off for dissent after the final whistle.

"He is a top player, he is a massive part of what we do," Southgate said in defence of Maguire, who has struggled for Manchester United since his involvement in a brawl on the Greek island of Mykonos in August.

"He is having a period where is having a lot of stick thrown his way and he is big enough to deal with that."

England got to the four-team finals of the inaugural Nations League last year but their chances of getting there again this time are very much in the balance with Belgium two points ahead of Southgate's team and the Danes atop League A, Group 2.

Belgium won 2-1 in Iceland on Wednesday with Romelu Lukaku scoring twice. They host England in Brussels on 15 November.

In Zagreb, Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe missed an open goal early on but got the winner in the 79th minute as France beat Croatia 2-1 in their latest re-run of the 2018 World Cup final.

Antoine Griezmann had put France ahead with Nikola Vlasic equalising in the second half for Croatia before around 7,000 fans.

Les Bleus have still never lost to Croatia and are level with Portugal on 10 points at the top of League A, Group 3.

Doubles for Jota, Lewandowski

Portugal, winners of the inaugural Nations League, shrugged off the absence of Ronaldo because of a positive COVID-19 test as they beat Sweden 3-0 in Lisbon.

Liverpool's Diogo Jota set up Bernardo Silva for the opener then scored two of his own, one either side of half-time.

"This team will always be better with Cristiano, but they showed they can still compete," said Portugal coach Fernando Santos.

Meanwhile, the prolific Robert Lewandowski scored a brace as Poland beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0 in Warsaw. Karol Linetty got the other goal and Poland are top of Group A, a point above Italy and two ahead of the Netherlands.

Italy lose Nations League top spot

The Dutch came from behind to draw 1-1 with Italy in Bergamo, with Donny van de Beek netting for Frank de Boer's side after Lorenzo Pellegrini put Italy ahead.

The 'Azzurri' had won 1-0 in Amsterdam last month but have now been held in three of their last four matches, including Sunday's goalless draw against Poland in Gdansk.

Roberto Mancini's side drop to second in League A, Group 1 on six points, one behind the Poles who beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0.

The Netherlands are third with five points, with all still to play for as three teams chase a place in the competition finals with two group games left in November.

"We will win the next two," warned Italy coach Roberto Mancini. "The match against Poland will not put pressure on us: we will win the next two and qualify."

Italy broke through after a quarter of an hour with Nicolo Barella splitting the Dutch defence with a pass for Lorenzo Pellegrini, who made no mistake from close range.

But Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek drew the Dutch level less than 10 minutes later when he fired home on the rebound from Memphis Depay's shot.

Ciro Immobile missed two chances to put the hosts ahead with goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen denying the Lazio striker shortly before Van de Beek struck, and again just after the hour mark.

"They changed their tactical set-up," said Mancini, who extended his unbeaten run as Italy coach to 19 matches.

"It hasn't happened to us for a long time. It was a hard-fought game, we had the best opportunities.

"The Netherlands are a strong team, we knew it was going to be a tough match."

New Dutch coach Frank de Boer has not yet won since taking over after Ronald Koeman's departure for Barcelona.

But de Boer was pleased with how his side pushed the Italians, despite missed opportunities with a Luuk de Jong's free header off target before the break and Gianluigi Donnarumma denying Depay on 55 minutes.

"I'm quite disappointed because we want to finish first," said de Boer.

"We had to win, unfortunately it didn't happen. But on the other hand I can say that it was positive because if we play like tonight, it gives us confidence and bodes well for the future."

The Italian national team was playing in Bergamo for the first time in 14 years, the match also a tribute to a region devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are sorry not to have won for this city that hosted us," said Mancini.

Only 1,000 spectators were allowed into Atalanta's Gewiss Stadium, including 243 mayors from the Bergamo province and front-line health workers who have grappled with the pandemic.

Both teams have two fixtures left with Italy hosting Poland on November 15 and the Netherlands at home against Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the final round of games three games later.

Scotland continue revival

Below the top tier, Scotland continued their tentative revival by beating the Czech Republic 1-0 at an empty Hampden thanks to an early goal by Newcastle United's Ryan Fraser.

After edging Israel on penalties to reach the Euro qualifying play-off final, Scotland beat Slovakia 1-0 at the weekend.

They are now unbeaten in eight matches and are four points clear of the Czechs at the top of League B, Group 2, and five ahead of Israel who came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in Slovakia with a hat-trick from PSV Eindhoven's Eran Zahavi.

In Group 4, Wales won 1-0 in Bulgaria with a late Jonny Williams goal.

They are unbeaten in eight competitive games, and Ryan Giggs' side are top with 10 points, a point ahead of Finland.

Stephen Kenny is still waiting for his first win as Republic of Ireland manager after a 1-0 defeat in Finland left his side out of contention for top spot in that group.

Before 8,000 fans in Helsinki, Fredrik Jensen scored the only goal, as he did when the sides met last month in Dublin.

Also in League B, Northern Ireland kept Erling Braut Haaland quiet enough but a second-half Stuart Dallas own goal gave Norway a 1-0 win in Oslo in Group 1.

Turkey came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Serbia in Group 3, which is topped by Russia who were held 0-0 by Hungary in Moscow.

Updated Date:

also read

Champions League: Paris Saint-Germain's star quality gives Pep Guardiola sleepless nights
Sports

Champions League: Paris Saint-Germain's star quality gives Pep Guardiola sleepless nights

Pep Guardiola knows Brazil forward Neymar and France striker Kylian Mbappe pose a serious threat to his hopes of leading Manchester City to their first Champions League final.

France coach Didier Deschamps warns against complacency as team targets World Cup and Euro double
Sports

France coach Didier Deschamps warns against complacency as team targets World Cup and Euro double

Didier Deschamps captained France to a World Cup and European Championship double as a player.

Bundesliga: Gerd Muller would be happy if Robert Lewandowski equals goal record, says wife
Sports

Bundesliga: Gerd Muller would be happy if Robert Lewandowski equals goal record, says wife

Lewandowski is now on 39 league goals this season — tantalisingly close to Mueller's record of 40 scored in the 1971/72 Bundesliga season.