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England out of Nations League finals contention: How competition will look as France and Spain qualify

ENGLAND officially failed to qualify for the Nations League finals after slumping to a 2-0 loss to Belgium on Sunday.

The Three Lions had hoped to make it back-to-back appearances at the finals after taking part in the 2019 showpiece.

England officially failed to qualify for the Nations League after losing 2-0 to Belgium on Sunday[/caption]

That year, Gareth Southgate and Co lost to Holland in the semi-finals, with Portugal beating the Dutchmen in the final.

England finished third after beating Switzerland in the playoff match.

Are England out of the Nations League finals?

Yes, the dream is over. Southgate’s side won’t be in next year’s finals after recent losses to Belgium and Denmark.

While the Three Lions won’t be appearing in next October’s mini-tournament, there are still a number of teams who can still qualify.

We take a look at who’s already in, who’s out and who’s been relegated to League B, but first…

What is the Nations League format now?

Alamy Live News
Portugal are the reigning Nations League champions[/caption]

THE Nations League is currently split into four tiers – Leagues A, B, C and D.

Europe’s elite go into League A, with the divisions getting gradually weaker until you reach League D, featuring the likes of San Marino and Liechtenstein.

Here, we’ll focus on League A and the permutations.

League A is split into four groups, with the 16 teams originally split into four pots of seeds based on their world ranking.

One team from each pot of seeds are drawn into four groups; A1, A2, A3 and A4.

In each group, it’s fairly simple: the team finishing top advances to the finals and the team in last place get relegated to League B.

Second and third in each group fail to advance to the finals but maintain their League A status.

World champions France qualified for the finals with a win against Portugal on Saturday while Spain hammered Germany on Tuesday night to progress.

Here’s how the remaining two groups are poised.

Group A1

How Group A1 looks ahead of the final round of games

Teams: Italy, Holland, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Already qualified: None

Who can still qualify for finals: Italy, Holland, Poland

Relegated to Group B: Bosnia and Herzegovina

THERE’S still everything to play for in group A1 going into the final round of fixtures.

Bosnia and Herzegovina are officially relegated – but the other THREE teams can still qualify for the finals.

Italy sit top on nine points and are favourites to qualify, taking on Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday.

Holland are currently second on eight points with Poland on seven.

They go head-to-head on Wednesday still hoping Italy drop points.

Should Italy lose, whoever wins between Holland and Poland will reach the finals.

A draw will be enough for Italy if Poland win – thanks to the Italians boasting the better head-to-head record thanks to Sunday’s 2-0 win.

But a draw for Italy and a Holland win would mean the Dutch progress.

Should Italy win, they qualify regardless of the Poland vs Holland game.

Group A2

How Group A2 looks ahead of the final round of games

Teams: Belgium, Denmark, England, Iceland

Already qualified: None

Who can still qualify for finals: Belgium, Denmark

Relegated to Group B: Iceland

AS we all know, England are now out of contention after losing to Belgium.

With one game to go, Belgium have 12 points, Denmark have ten, England have seven, while Iceland – officially relegated – have failed to pick up a single point.

England host Iceland while Denmark travel to Belgium for the final round of fixtures, meaning the scenario is simple.

England vs Iceland is a dead-rubber.

Regardless of the result, Iceland will still be relegated and England can’t progress.

A draw between Belgium and Denmark will see Kevin De Bruyne and Co reach the finals.

A Belgium win will see them through, too.

But a win for Denmark will ensure the Danes reach the final four next year.


How Group A3 looks ahead of the final round of games

Teams: France, Portugal, Croatia, Sweden

Already qualified: France

Who can still qualify for finals: None

Relegated to Group B: None (Croatia or Sweden)

FRANCE’S win over Portugal on Saturday ensured they qualified for the finals regardless of what happens in their final game.

The French sit just three points above Cristiano Ronaldo and Co and with a lower goal difference.

But with a draw and a win from their two games, France clinch the tie-breaker based on their head-to-head record.

Portugal, though, are at least safe from relegation.

Sweden and Croatia are the two teams facing the drop to League B, both on three points.

Croatia host Portugal while Sweden face a tricky test away to France – both on Tuesday.

To complicate matters further, both Sweden and Croatia won their home matches against each other 2-1 – meaning their head-to-head record is identical.

Should both teams win, draw or lose – ending on the same points tally – it will go down to goal difference.

Both Sweden and Croatia currently have a goal difference of -6, so a draw – or win/loss by the same margin – will mean it then goes down to goals scored.

Croatia have scored seven to Sweden’s three, meaning the they are marginally in the driving seat.

Therefore, Sweden cannot simply match Croatia’s result and scoreline, they must better them.

A draw – or a win/loss by the same margin as Sweden – would be enough for Croatia to avoid relegation.


How Group A4 looks ahead of the final round of games

Teams: Germany, Spain, Ukraine, Switzerland

Already qualified: None

Who can still qualify for finals: Germany, Spain

Relegated to Group B: None (Ukraine or Switzerland)

THE final round of matches in the A4 group promise to be enthralling.

Spain host Germany in the fight for the top spot – and a place in the finals – while Ukraine travel to Switzerland in the relegation game.

With the group entirely split into two, the scenarios are fairly simple – at least for the leading pack.

Germany – incredibly the bottom seeds of their group – lead Spain by a single point.

That means, a draw would be enough for the Germans to progress to next year’s finals, with Spain needing to win.

In the other game, Ukraine sit three points ahead of the Swiss – having won their match-up 2-1 earlier in the group.

Switzerland boast a better goal difference at just -2 compared to Ukraine’s -5.

That means a 1-0 win will be enough for the Swiss after going into the FOURTH level of the tiebreakers – goals scored AWAY in the head-to-head.

Should Switzerland win 2-1, it would then go to the FIFTH tiebreaker level – overall goal difference, which would see the Swiss progress.

Therefore, Ukraine will need a win or draw to progress, with a Switzerland win enough for them to go through.

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