The group stage of the 2022/23 Nations League will reach a conclusion in the next few days, with four places in the Finals up for grabs and some European heavyweights looking to avoid ignominious relegations. Here is our rundown of what to look out for.
With nine points from a possible 12, Denmark lead the way in Group 1. Victory over Croatia on Thursday would see Kasper Hjulmand’s side qualify for the Finals, which are set to take place next summer. But Croatia are just two points behind their upcoming opponents and will rise to first place if they triumph in Zagreb.
Elsewhere, world champions France remain winless after four matches. They will climb above Austria and into third if they beat Ralf Rangnick’s men at the Stade de France, but defeat would send les Bleus down to League B. A draw would keep their survival hopes alive heading into matchday six, when Didier Deschamps’ charges take on Denmark.
Spain are in pole position to advance to the Finals from Group 2. They will qualify with a game to spare if they beat Switzerland and Portugal lose to Switzerland on Saturday. More likely, though, is that top spot is decided when Cristiano Ronaldo and co. take on Spain in Braga next week. Portugal are currently a point off top spot and may therefore need to win that match to progress.
At the other end of the standings, Switzerland have a point to make up on Czech Republic, whom they host next Tuesday.
Hungary are the shock leaders of Group 3 with two games to go. Two victories over England and a draw with Germany have put Marco Rossi’s side in a strong position, but there is still work to do to maintain their one-point lead at the top. Indeed, Germany will rise to first place if they beat Hungary on Friday.
England travel to Italy on the same night needing to win to preserve their League A status. A draw is unlikely to be enough, although it would technically keep their survival hopes alive until next week’s meeting with Germany.
Group 4 is split between two teams chasing top spot and two sides looking to avoid the drop. The Netherlands have a three-point lead over Belgium going into these concluding fixtures, and a 4-1 defeat by their neighbours in June means it will be difficult for the Red Devils to overturn their head-to-head deficit. The Dutch have one foot in the Finals already.
Wales are three points behind Poland in the relegation battle, so Rob Page’s men will need to beat them in Cardiff next week. First, though, they will look to deny Belgium victory on Thursday.
There is everything still to play for in Group 1, with Scotland and the Republic of Ireland both able to win promotion and suffer relegation. The pair will meet in Glasgow on Saturday, but it is Ukraine that tops the group with seven points.
Russia’s expulsion means relegation is off the table for the three remaining teams in Group 2. Israel will win promotion to League A if they beat Albania at home.
Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Montenegro looks like being a promotion decider on Friday, with the Bosnians holding a slender one-point advantage. Finland can condemn Romania to relegation by beating them in Helsinki.
A draw with Serbia on matchday six would secure promotion for Norway, who will first do battle with Sweden on Saturday. Slovenia are bottom of the group but just one point behind the Swedes.
Group 1 is done and dusted: Turkey have already won promotion thanks to four wins from four, while pointless Lithuania will take part in the relegation play-offs.
Greece have also accumulated maximum points in Group 2 and will thus be competing in League B next time around. Northern Ireland are level on points with last-placed Cyprus.
Kazakhstan are guaranteed to finish top of Group 3, but fourth-placed Belarus still have a small chance of catching Azerbaijan.
A draw with North Macedonia on Friday would wrap up top spot for Georgia, while Gibraltar probably need to beat Bulgaria away from home to avoid the relegation play-offs.
Twelve points from 12 means Latvia will be a League C team in 2024/25, while Liechtenstein are guaranteed to finish bottom of Group 1.
Estonia and Malta’s meeting in Tallinn will determine which of the two wins promotion, but the wooden spoon in Group 2 already belongs to San Marino.