While the Netherlands continued their bounce back from oblivion, Germany’s downward spiral continued – here are the international winners and losers



Virgil Van Dijk’s last minute winner not only gave the Netherlands the draw against Germany, after trailing by two goals, a place in the Nations League finals, but also showed the world how much the Dutch have grown as a side since not qualifying for the World Cup. Plenty of young talent, exciting players and the chance to have a go at winning this competition.


It really is coming home after all, maybe with just a little delay. Harry Kane’s late winner against Croatia sent Wembley nuts and England to the Nations League finals, with the chance to win a trophy next June. Sure, it might not be a major competition, but it’s another milestone in the growth of this young, vibrant, England side, after the World Cup semifinal.


The Swiss smashed five past Belgium and booked a place in the final four, with a chance of having a go at winning some silverware. Haris Seferovic struck a hat-trick, and the Swiss went from losing by two goals, to winning 5-2.


It’s not as prestigious as winning the Euros, but Portugal are in a great position to win more silverware on home soil under coach Fernando Santos, a man whose pragmatism continues to work on the pitch. Portugal needed a point against Italy in a sold out San Siro, and that’s what they got.

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Dejan Lovren might have taken it too far in his personal fight against Sergio Ramos, and in the end Croatia fell at Wembley and were relegated. However, the victory over Spain remains, and it’s one that confirms the status of the Croatians as a top international side, following a great World Cup.



They were almost certain about making it to the finals, but losing to Croatia changed everything, and left Spain with a lot of questions unanswered. Luis Enrique still has to find his best eleven, and turn it into a team. It’s Spain, so it will happen, but for now this is just an incoherent mix of great players.


A solid start against the Netherlands was followed by the meltdown in the second half, with Germany continuing to be a side that needs renovation, unable to really have the youngsters step up. This result in the Nations League means that Germany will be in Pot 2 in the draw for the Euro 2020 qualifiers, an unexpected position to be in.


Not even Roberto Martinez could justify losing 5-2 after being 2-0 up. Belgium said goodbye to the final four and did so in abhorrent fashion, throwing away another chance to win a trophy with the Golden Generation. Is it too late now?


It’s the second 0-0 draw at the San Siro in the month of November: last year it denied the Azzurri a place to the World Cup, this time to the Nations League finals. Portugal are a much better side than Sweden, but surely Italy could have done more to at least score. The mediocre spell for Italy doesn’t seem to be ending.



What happened to the side that impressed everyone at Euro 2016 and stunned Argentina at the World Cup? It’s gone, judging by results. In this break, Iceland drew with Qatar and lost 2-0 in the Nations League tie against Belgium, being relegated to League B. They haven’t won in 13 matches now. The magic seems over.

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