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UEFA Nations League: What to look out for tonight

The Netherlands and Denmark could become the first teams to book their places in the UEFA Nations League Finals.

Memphis Depay in training ahead of the Netherlands' visit to Poland
Memphis Depay in training ahead of the Netherlands' visit to Poland ANP/AFP via Getty Images

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

UEFA.com assesses the lie of the land ahead of Thursday's Matchday 5 encounters.

All the Nations League fixtures

Thursday 22 September
Group A1 France vs Austria
Group A1 Croatia vs Denmark
Group A4 Belgium vs Wales
Group A4 Poland vs Netherlands
Group C1 Türkiye vs Luxembourg
Group C1 Lithuania vs Faroe Islands
Group C3 Kazakhstan vs Belarus (16:00)
Group C3 Slovakia vs Azerbaijan
Group D1 Latvia vs Moldova (18:00)
Group D1 Liechtenstein vs Andorra 

All kick-off times 20:45 CET unless stated

Croatia aiming to overhaul Denmark

Highlights: Denmark 0-1 Croatia

After opening their campaign with a 3-0 home defeat by Austria, Croatia held world champions France to a 1-1 draw before posting back-to-back wins over Denmark and Les Bleus. Victory on Thursday would see the Vatreni leapfrog Kasper Hjulmand's side at the top of the group.

The UEFA EURO 2020 semi-finalists' home defeat by Croatia in June was their only loss of the group stage so far and followed eye-catching triumphs in Vienna and Paris respectively. After returning to winning ways at home to Austria last time out, another victory here would clinch their place in the finals.

Key stat: Denmark midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg has registered more ball recoveries (35) than any other player in the competition so far.

France fight for survival against Austria

Highlights: Austria 1-1 France

Holders France can no longer reach the finals after collecting only two points from their four group games in June. Didier Deschamps' team, who have yet to win at home after losing to Denmark and Croatia in Paris, salvaged a 1-1 draw in Vienna in the teams' previous meeting courtesy of a late Kylian Mbappé effort.

Austria need to win at Stade de France and hope other results go their way to keep alive their slim hopes of topping the group. A 3-0 win in Osijek on Matchday 1 proved something of a false dawn for Ralf Rangnick's side, who went on to lose home and away to Denmark and draw with France at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion.

Key stat: France had only lost one match in their Nations League history before this campaign.

Belgium battling to stay in contention

Highlights: Wales 1-1 Belgium

Belgium recovered from a heavy Matchday 1 defeat to the Netherlands with a resounding 6-1 triumph at home to Poland. However, Brennan Johnson's late equaliser in Cardiff in June has left Roberto Martínez's side with an uphill battle to reach a second successive Nations League finals – they are three points behind a Dutch outfit they face in their last game.

That 1-1 draw remains the Dragons' only point of the group so far, but Robert Page's side have given a good account of themselves in narrow defeats to Poland and the Oranje (home and away). Page will be expecting a similar gritty display in Brussels.

Key stat: Leandro Trossard and Michy Batshuayi are the only players to have scored twice for the Red Devils in Group A4.

Dutch on brink of second finals

Highlights: Netherlands 2-2 Poland

Louis van Gaal's team will qualify for the finals if they win in Warsaw and Belgium fail to overcome Wales. Only two teams – Türkiye and Georgia – have found the net more often than the Netherlands in this season's competition and they will be confident of continuing their rich vein of form in front of goal against a leaky Polish defence.

Czesław Michniewicz's Poland will take heart from their 2-2 draw in Rotterdam earlier in the competition – a game in which they led 2-0 early in the second half. And with Robert Lewandowski in impressive form at club level, the hosts will fancy their chances of claiming another positive result.

Key stat: Memphis Depay has scored three goals in as many Nations League appearances in 2022 but missed a last-minute penalty in the 2-2 draw with Poland.

Elsewhere on Thursday

Highlights: Luxembourg 0-2 Türkiye

• In Group C1, Türkiye will be promoted to League B if they avoid defeat at home to Luxembourg while Lithuania must win against the Faroe Islands to avoid entering the relegation play-outs.

• Kazakhstan will be promoted to League B if they beat Belarus in Group C3.

• Latvia, who have a 100% record, will be promoted to League C if they avoid defeat at home to Moldova.

Key dates

Matchdays 5 & 6: 22–27 September 2022
Finals draw: tbc
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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