Sports

Belgium, Italy win to reach Nations League last 4

Sports Desk, Nov 18 (efe-epa).- Belgium doubled up Denmark 4-2 and Italy blanked Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0 Wednesday to win their respective Nations League groups and join France and Spain in the championship round, set for October 2021.

Both teams controlled their own destiny heading into the sixth and final match day of the group stage.

Belgium led Denmark by 2 points and England by 5 and needed only a draw to finish top of Group A2. Italy, however, was just a point up on the Netherlands and had to win to be sure of taking first place.

Hosting the Danes in Leuven, the Belgians took the lead in the 3rd minute with a goal by Youri Tielemans, but Jonas Older Wind equalized for the visitors 14 minutes later.

The deadlock endured until the 57th minute, when Romelu Lukaku made it 2-1. The Inter Milan standout scored again with 20 minutes left, the 17th goal in his last 14 appearances for the national side.

Denmark came within one in the 86th minute on a rare blunder by Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who misplayed a back pass into his own net.

Within seconds, Kevin de Bruyne scored to restore the two-goal margin for Belgium.

England, with no hope of advancing, routed hapless Iceland 4-0. The Three Lions led 2-0 at half-time on goals by Declan Rice and Mason Mount and Phil Foden had a brace in the final 10 minutes.

Iceland played more a third of the match with 10 men, as defender Birkir Mar Saevarsson was sent off in the 54th minute after picking up a second yellow card.

With 64 percent possession, Italy dominated Bosnia in Sarajevo, outshooting the hosts 17-7. Andrea Belotti scored in the 22nd minute and Domenico Berardi added an insurance goal in the 68th to ensure the Azzurri of claiming the Group A1 title.

The Dutch were also away winners on Wednesday, though they left it till late.

Kamil Jozwiak put hosts Poland ahead with a goal in the 5th minute and the Netherlands didn’t pull level until the 77th minute with a successful Memphis Depay penalty.

Georginio Wijnaldum scored the game-winner with six minutes left in regulation.

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iceland, Sweden and Switzerland finished bottom of their respective groups and are relegated to League B. Their places in League A will go to Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Wales. EFE

apa/dr

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