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UEFA Nations League: What to look out for on Sunday

Croatia and the Netherlands are in the box seat for a place in the UEFA Nations League finals, but Denmark and Belgium are lurking should they slip up.

Belgium need to avoid a three-goal win
Belgium need to avoid a three-goal win BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

The third edition of the UEFA Nations League is well under way, with five matchdays played and one more to come ahead of the finals in June 2023.

UEFA.com assesses the lie of the land ahead of Sunday's Matchday 6 encounters.

Who needs what?

Sunday 25 September
Group A1 Austria vs Croatia
Group A1 Denmark vs France
Group A4 Netherlands vs Belgium
Group A4 Wales vs Poland
Group C1 Luxembourg vs Lithuania
Group C1 Faroe Islands vs Türkiye
Group C3 Slovakia 1-1 Belarus
Group C3 Azerbaijan 3-0 Kazakhstan
Group D1 Andorra 1-1 Latvia
Group D1 Moldova 2-0 Liechtenstein

All kick-off times 20:45 CET unless stated

Croatia close on stunning comeback

Not many gave Croatia much hope when they were thumped 3-0 at home by Austria in their opening Group A1 game. The outlook wasn’t much improved by a 1-1 draw with France in Split but Zlatko Dalić's charges have shown their mettle, with two victories against Denmark sandwiching a fine 1-0 win in France.

It all leaves them in the box seat for a Finals spot: it will be theirs if they win or if Denmark fail to beat France. Croatia's last opponents? Austria, of course. Dalić issued a public apology after the sides' previous meeting, bemoaning the fact that "Austria were faster and more aggressive than us". All would be forgiven with victory in Vienna.

Highlights: Croatia 0-3 Austria

Belgium target smash and grab

There have been 128 Low Countries derbies over the years, but it is over six decades since Belgium last beat the Netherlands by three goals or more – which is what they require to snatch a finals spot from the grasp of their noisy neighbours. The Oranje are hardly going through a bad spell, either, having won 4-1 in Belgium in the reverse fixture and extending their unbeaten run to 14 with Thursday's 2-0 victory in Poland.

Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi's assertion that "they have the upper hand" therefore seems to be putting it lightly, yet with Belgium's array of attacking talent there is always hope. And the Oranje are not impervious at the back – the clean sheet in Warsaw was their first of 2022, a year in which they have conceded twice on three occasions. "Never say never," concludes Batshuayi.

Highlights: Belgium 1-4 Netherlands

Wales and Poland battle for survival

It is also win or bust for Wales in the other game in Group A4: if they fail to beat Poland in Cardiff then they will drop back down into League B; triumph, and their opponents will be consigned to the same fate. "The good thing is that it still all depends on us," says Czesław Michniewicz, whose Poland side came from behind to beat Wales at home in June. "It won't be easy but we can deal with that."

Group 4 Live now

Played P Won W Draws D Lost L For Against Goal difference Points Pts
NED Netherlands
Playing now
6 5 1 0 14 6 8 16
BEL Belgium
Playing now
6 3 1 2 11 8 3 10
POL Poland
Playing now
6 2 1 3 6 12 -6 7
WAL Wales
Playing now
6 0 1 5 6 11 -5 1

Elsewhere on Sunday

• Holders France will not defend their crown next summer and a disappointing campaign could yet turn more sour: if Didier Deschamps' side lose in Denmark and Austria beat Croatia then the world champions will be relegated.

• Türkiye already have promotion to League B in the bag after wrapping up Group C1 with a game to spare, and they will be looking to complete their campaign unbeaten away to the Faroe Islands.

• Latvia secured promotion to League C in the early kick-offs after securing a 1-1 draw away to Andorra, enough to seal top spot in Group D1 ahead of Moldova.

Nations League great goals: Matchday 1 to 4

Key dates

Semi-finals: 14 & 15 June 2023
Final & third-place match: 18 June 2023
Play-outs: 21–23 & 24–26 March 2024

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