Nations League: Spain surprise Switzerland and Portugal correct the Czech Republic and top Group B

Spain surprised by Switzerland

Spain stunned 2-1 against Switzerland on Saturday in Zaragoza for the fifth day of the League of Nations tournament, and will try to prove their ticket to the quarter-finals on Tuesday (8:45 pm) in Braga against Portugal, the winner of the Czech Republic. Republic 4-0 Saturday night.

The Swiss, bottom of Group B before Saturday’s games, opened the scoring in the 21st minute thanks to a header from Manuel Akanji from a corner, then Spain equalized in the return from the locker room through Jordi Alba (55), but Nati immediately. He responded with another goal from a corner kick scored by Brielle Empolo and touched by Eric Garcia (58th place), which ended up drowning out the Iberian enthusiasm.

Luis Enrique tried to turn his attack on its head in the 63rd minute to equalize at least, but nothing worked: although young Nico Williams and Jeremy Pino entered the wings instead of Ferran Torres and Pablo Sarabia, and that of Borja Iglesias instead of Marco Asensio as a striker, it failed Spain to overcome the wall of Jan Sumer.

With this setback, the first since the start of the group stage in the League of Nations, the Spaniards are back in second place in Group Two, two points behind the Portuguese leaders.

For Switzerland, this is the second prestigious victory in a row, after their 1-0 victory over Portugal in Geneva on June 12. It is also the first victory in its history on Spanish soil.

The Swiss even nearly widened the gap in the 62nd minute, upon a poorly negotiated exit by Unai Simon, a symptom of his team’s fever less than two months before the World Cup kicks off in Qatar (November 20-December 18).

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It is believed that Spain, in turn, sees the light once again on this dangerous back pass from Renato Stephen, who almost entered his own goal before coming off a corner kick.

And Luis Enrique, in addition to adjusting the concerns raised on Saturday night, will have to monitor the health of Leremy Pino, who finished the match with a serious limp.

Now Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates are standing on the road to Spain: only one of these two great nations in world football will qualify for the ‘Fourth Final’ of the Nations League.

La Roja had already opposed what happened last year: it took revenge by eliminating the new European champions in the semi-finals, before surrendering to France in the final.

Portugal wins in the Czech Republic

Portugal corrected the Czech Republic 4-0 and topped Group B, thanks in particular to Diego Dalot, the double scorer on Saturday in Prague during the penultimate day of the Nations League.

Manchester United opened the scoring after a self-initiated action (1-0, 33rd position) before Bruno Fernandes, his team-mate at the Red Devils, broke before the break (2-0, 45+2). In the second half, Diogo Dalot gave himself a double (3-0, 52) and Diogo Jota completed the Portuguese ride (4-0, 82).

After thirty minutes of play, the Seleção gained momentum. Diogo Dalot launched a breakthrough in the Czech half before relying on Bruno Fernandez, who crossed into the penalty area. Well positioned, Rafael Liao returned to Dalot who recovered the ball victorious from the penalty kick (1-0, 33).

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The 2016 European Champions gave a breath of fresh air when Mario Rui from the left side sent a cross into the heart of the Czech area that Bruno Fernandez pushed into the net (2-0, 45 + 2).

For his part, Cristiano Ronaldo, another Manconi, did not appear on a glorious evening marking his 190th selection. Hit in the nose from the 13th minute, ‘CR7’ missed the ball completely when Bruno Fernandes sent him superbly to the penalty kick (24). The 37-year-old striker then missed his aerial shot after a cross from Fernandez (39th place).

Worse, the five-time Golden Ball incurred a penalty when the ball hit his hand, protecting his face from a Czech corner kick, the referee relied on the VAR to check the penalty.

But the Portuguese captain’s mistake was ultimately illogical since Patrick Schick sent his shot over Portugal’s cages (45+6).

In the second half, Portugal returned the point from its first chance. Staying ahead, Diogo Dalot inherited an entire pivot ball a few meters from the entrance to the surface. Then he fired a curled shot from the left, leaving no chance for Tomas Vaclic (3-0, 52).

At the end of the match, in a corner kick, Cristiano Ronaldo climbed higher than anyone else to turn the ball towards the far post where Diogo Jota followed well and ended the Portuguese shot with a header (4-0, 82).

At the end of the penultimate day, Portugal advanced in Group B with 10 points, taking advantage of Spain’s defeat at home to Switzerland (2-1) at the same time.

Tuesday, when their Spanish neighbors greeted a shocker at the summit (8:45 pm) in Braga, Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates will be able to win a draw to join the fourth final of the Nations League.

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About the Author: Germano Álvares

"Desbravador de cerveja apaixonado. Álcool alcoólico incurável. Geek de bacon. Viciado em web em geral."

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