Sports Desk, Nov 14 (efe-epa).- France beat defending Nations League champions Portugal 1-0 to ensure themselves a berth in the tournament’s final four, while Saturday’s results in Group A4 set the stage for a decisive clash next week between Spain and Germany.
Les Bleus rebounded from an embarrasing home loss to Finland in a mid-week friendly to come away from Lisbon with all 3 points.
N’Golo Kante’s goal in the 53rd minute after Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio made the initial stop against Adrien Rabiot turned out to be all the 2018 World Cup winners would need, as Hugo Lloris held off Cristiano Ronaldo & Co scoreless.
France have 13 points, just 3 more than Portugal with one match left to play in the group stage, but the French would prevail in a tie because they have a better goal difference in head-to-play.
Sweden staved off relegation to League B, at least temporarily, by besting Croatia 2-1 in Stockholm for their first victory of the competition.
Dejan Kulusevski put the hosts ahead in the 36th minute with an assist from Mikael Lustig and Marcus Danielson doubled the margin in first-half stoppage time.
With nine minutes left in regulation, Danielson reduced the Swedish lead by conceding an own goal, yet Croatia proved unable to mount a comeback.
The sides are level on points at 3 looking ahead to their final matches next Tuesday, when Sweden are away to France and Croatia host Portugal.
Spain came into Saturday’s contest against winless Switzerland with a 1-point edge over Germany in Group A4, but left Basel trailing Die Mannschaft by a point.
The Swiss jumped out ahead in the 26th minute with a goal by Remo Freuler and maintained the lead until the 89th, when Gerard Moreno equalized for La Roja.
In the 63 minutes between those goals, Spain captain Sergio Ramos was denied twice from the penalty spot after converting on his prior 25 chances.
While Yann Sommer was tested on the first occasion, Ramos’ attempt at a Panenka on the second try made easy work for the Swiss keeper on a night when the Spaniard surpassed Gianluigi Buffon as the European men’s player with the most international matches, 177.
Switzerland played the final 10-plus minutes with 10 men after Nico Elvedi drew a second yellow card for the foul that set up Spain’s second penalty.
In Leipzig, Germany fell behind to visiting Ukraine in the 12th minute on a goal by Roman Yaremchuk.
Leroy Sane brought the hosts level in the 23rd minute and Timo Werner made it 2-1 for Germany 10 minutes later. The Chelsea man got his second goal of the night just past the hour mark.
Germany need only a draw against Spain next Tuesday in Seville to win the group. La Roja must win to advance.
Switzerland likewise have to prevail over Ukraine next week to avoid relegation. EFE