WINDHOEK, SEPT. 5 – High-profile clashes between England and Spain, as well as France and the Netherlands are the highlights of the 15 UEFA Nations League match scheduled for September 8 and 9.
Saturday’s feature game sees England and Spain open their campaign in the continental competition when they meet in a League A, Group 4 clash at Wembley Stadium.
England come into the clash on the back of a highly successful 2018 World Cup campaign which saw them end fourth in Russia. The Three Lions advanced through their group stage before overcoming Colombia and Sweden.
In the semifinals they were outclassed by Croatia, while the third-place playoff ended in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Belgium on July 14 – their most recent outing.
Manager Gareth Southgate continues to err on the side of youth and pace in his squad selection, with the surprise inclusion of Liverpool’s Adam Lallana being the only member of their current selection who is 30 or older.
Spain, meanwhile, had a poor campaign at Russia 2018 and exited in the round of 16 at the hands of the hosts – La Furia Roja’s penalty defeat was one of the biggest upsets of the tournament.
Spain come into the game entering a new era under coach Luis Enrqiue, but they continue to look to the likes of David de Gea, captain Sergio Ramos and bullish striker Diego Costa to be their leaders out on the field.
The other eye-catching game of the weekend takes place on Sunday night at Stade de France in Paris, where the 2018 World Cup winners will take on a Netherlands side which didn’t even make the grade for the tournament in Russia.
The Oranje are looking to rebuild under new manager Ronald Koeman, who is aim to transition his team into a younger, more energetic outfit – as evidenced by call-ups for the likes of Justin Kluivert (the son of Patrick Kluivert), Steven Bergwijn, Guus Til and Frenkie de Jong, though they were notably rebuffed by Ajax right-back Noussair Mazraoui. He has chosen Morocco over Holland for his international future.
France and the Netherlands have faced off 26 times in international football, with Les Bleus leading 12-10 in terms of wins. The teams’ most recent meeting was a World Cup qualifier just over a year ago which saw Les Bleus claim an emphatic 4-0 triumph in Paris thanks to goals from Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar (two) and Kylian Mbappe.
The weekend’s action also features a notable clash between World Cup teams Switzerland and Iceland in League A on Saturday night, as well as Denmark looking to take down Gareth Bale and Wales when they meet in League B, Group 4 at Ceres Park in Arhus on Sunday evening.
Key match stats
Switzerland v Iceland – Head-to-Head
Matches played 6
Switzerland wins 5
Iceland wins 0
England v Spain – Head-to-Head
Matches played 25
England wins 12
Spain wins 9
France v Netherlands – Head-to-Head
Matches played 26
France wins 12
Netherlands wins 10
UEFA Nations League fixtures – September 8-9
All times CAT
Saturday, September 8
Group 2 – Switzerland v Iceland – 20h45
Group 4 – England v Spain – 20h45
Group 3 – Northern Ireland v Bosnia-Herzegovina – 15h00
Group 2 – Finland v Hungary – 18h00
Group 2 – Estonia v Greece – 20h45
Group 2 – Belarus v San Marino – 18h00
Group 2 – Luxembourg v Moldova – 20h45
Sunday, September 9
Group 1 – France v Netherlands – 20h45
Group 1 – Ukraine v Slovakia – 15h00
Group 4 – Denmark v Wales – 18h00
Group 3 – Bulgaria v Norway – 18h00
Group 3 – Cyprus v Slovenia – 20h45
Group 1 – Georgia v Latvia – 18h00
Group 4 – Macedonia FYR v Armenia – 18h00
Group 4 – Liechtenstein v Gibraltar – 20h45