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UEFA Nations League: What to look out for on Saturday

Spain could clinch their place in the UEFA Nations League finals, while Portugal, the Czechia and Switzerland remain in the running.

Spain are top of Group A2
Spain are top of Group A2 Getty Images

The third edition of the UEFA Nations League is well under way. With four matchdays already played, Matchday 5 is in full swing, with one last matchday to go ahead of the finals in June 2023.

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

All the Nations League fixtures

Saturday 24 September
Group A2 Czechia vs Portugal
Group A2 Spain vs Switzerland
Group B1 Armenia vs Ukraine (15:00)
Group B1 Scotland vs Republic of Ireland
Group B2 Israel vs Albania
Group B4 Slovenia vs Norway (18:00)
Group B4 Serbia vs Sweden
Group C2 Northern Ireland vs Kosovo (18:00)
Group C2 Cyprus vs Greece 

All kick-off times 20:45 CET unless stated

Portugal and Czechia still in finals race

Highlights: Portugal 2-0 Czechia

Jaroslav Šilhavý's team collected four points from their opening two matches before slipping to successive away defeats against Portugal and Group A2 leaders Spain. The Czechs have proved a tough nut to crack on home soil, though, with Luis Enrique's side needing a last-minute equaliser to escape Prague with a point earlier this year.

2019 winners Portugal sit one point behind La Furia Roja after losing 1-0 in Switzerland last time out, thereby missing the chance to consolidate first place. If results go their way on Saturday, they will resume the role of pacesetters heading into the final round of fixtures.

Key stat: Portugal's Bernardo Silva is one of four players on three group stage assists. Serbia's Dušan Tadić, Greece's Petros Mantalos and the Netherlands' Daley Blind are the others.

Finals spot in reach for Spain

Highlights: Switzerland 0-1 Spain

Back-to-back wins over Switzerland and Czechia in June lifted 2010 FIFA World Cup winners Spain to the top of the group. There will be little margin for error in Zaragoza, however, with a potentially decisive Matchday 6 trip to Portugal looming on the horizon.

Die Nati, who finished the 2019 edition in fourth place, ended a run of three straight defeats courtesy of Haris Seferović's fastest-ever UEFA Nations League goal against Portugal. Murat Yakin's charges will also take heart from the teams' previous meeting in Geneva, when the visitors needed Pablo Sarabia's 13th-minute effort to decide a tight contest.

Key stat: Spain boast the joint-highest pass completion rate in the competition alongside France (89.8%).

Nations League standings

Elsewhere on Saturday

• Israel welcome Albania to Tel Aviv knowing victory would secure their promotion to League A.

• It's possible for Erling Haaland's Norway to clinch promotion to League B if they win and Serbia do not beat Sweden in Belgrade, or if Norway draw and Serbia lose.

• Already promoted Greece meet Cyprus, whose fate, along with that of Northern Ireland, cannot be decided on Matchday 5. If Kosovo win in Belfast, they will be safe from the League C relegation play-outs.

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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