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Italy back in contention; England out of Nations League

SOCCER NEWS:
Italy back in contention; England out of Nations League

ROME (AP) – 3 years after an awkward failure to get approved for the World Cup, Italy is back in contention with the very best in Europe.

England, on the other hand, is currently out of contention for the Nations League finals with one round of matches still to play.

An Italy team terribly struck by the coronavirus still handled to beat Poland 2-0 on Sunday, putting the Azzurri in control of their group, while England was beaten 2-0 by top-ranked Belgium.

Another win at Bosnia-Herzegovina on Wednesday will see Italy hosting the four-team finals in October — simply a couple of months after hosting the opening video game of the European Champion in Rome.

“It’s our culture. Italians give their best during difficult moments and become more united. It’s what I asked of these guys before the game and they were extraordinary,” stated assistant coach Alberico Evani, who has actually been standing in for head coach Roberto Mancini on the touchline.

Mancini is separating at house with the coronavirus, as is striker Ciro Immobile, the winner of the European Golden Shoe last season. In all, more than 20 Italy gamers were not available due to the infection and injury.

Jorginho transformed a charge for Italy midway through the very first half after Andrea Belotti was lowered inside the location. Domenico Berardi included another objective late in the 2nd half after gathering a pass from Lorenzo Insigne.

“The more days went on, the more players kept leaving the camp, but we said to ourselves that we had to be even more united through these obstacles,” Belotti stated. “It was a piece de resistance and we showed that we transcended to Poland in every method this night.

“We’re like a family, so coming back here is like a father embracing his son. That’s how we all feel when we come on international duty. We just need to look each other in the eyes to know what we’re doing,” Belotti included. “We dedicate this win to the coach, and also to everyone else who is self-isolating right now.”

Italy leads Group 1 in League A with 9 points. The Netherlands is next with 8 points after beating Bosnia 3-1. Poland is still in contention with 7 points, while Bosnia tracks with 2.

BELGIUM NEARS FINALS

Dries Mertens scored an outstanding totally free kick as Belgium ended England’s hopes of reaching the finals.

Belgium took the lead 10 minutes in when Romelu Lukaku established Youri Tielemans for a deflected shot.

Mertens made it 2-0 in the 24th by skillfully curling his kick over the English wall – which primarily stopped working to leap – after Kevin De Bruyne was fouled.

Belgium leads Group 2 in League A with 12 points. Denmark is next with 10 following a 2-1 win over Iceland. England has 7 and Iceland none.

Belgium requires just a draw at house with Denmark on Wednesday to reach the finals.

DE BOER FINALLY WINS

Frank de Boer lastly has his very first win as Netherlands coach after Georginio Wijnaldum scored a speedy brace to lead his group to a 3-1 success over Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Wijnaldum, captain in the lack of his hurt Liverpool colleague Virgil van Dijk, tapped in from close quarters in the 6th and 14th minutes to establish the win in the empty Johan Cruyff Arena. Wijnaldum has actually now scored 7 of his nation’s last 12 objectives.

Memphis Depay got the Netherlands’ 3rd objective.

The success reduces pressure on De Boer, who ended up being the very first Netherlands coach not to sign up a win in his very first 4 matches in charge when his group drew 1-1 with Spain on Wednesday, following a defeat and 2 more draws given that taking over from Ronald Koeman.

WINNING WALES

Wales is the only unbeaten group in League B following a 1-0 win over Ireland, thanks to David Brooks’ second-half header.

Now Wales requires just to prevent defeat in your home versus second-place Finland to make promo to the leading tier.

“We didn’t play that well today, but we came out fighting in the second half. It’s another three points and that’s what matters and it sets up well for Wednesday,” stated Wales captain Gareth Bale. “We have a great record at the moment and it’s great to get the win. I love playing for Wales, but the most important thing is that this team keeps winning.”

In Group 1, Austria beat Northern Ireland 2-1 to likewise remain on course for promo with 4 wins in 5 video games.

In League C, North Macedonia kept its momentum after receiving the European Champion by beating Estonia 2-1 to lead Group 2.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

___

Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf

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