ᑕ❶ᑐ The biggest talking points from the UEFA Nations League

It’s safe to say that the UEFA Nations League isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The current competition is the third edition of the brand new international European football competition. And while many football fans still view the tournament as glorified friendlies, you’d be hard-pressed to find a fan who doesn’t really prefer to play for something, rather than the old-fashioned friendlies, where eleven substitutes have were made at half-time, killing the rhythm of matches across the continent. France are the current defending champions, beating Spain at the San Siro last October to lift the trophy for the first time. The Blues will not retain the trophy, however, and Oddschecker, which compares odds and offers free deals on European football, has made neighbors the Netherlands favorites for glory.

The most recent edition of the competition provided many shocks. Last time out, Hungary beat England 4-0 away in one of the most surprising results in recent years. The Hungarians once again lived up to their old tricks in the fifth game week away to Germany. Didier Deschamps’ defending champions have also been disappointing in their bid to become the first team to retain the trophy, losing at home to Denmark and Croatia meaning they cannot qualify for the final.

But what topics were on everyone’s lips during the last series of meetings?

The Three Lions’ UEFA Nations League campaign has been nothing short of a disaster. They suffered humiliating home and away defeats against Hungary and are the only nation other than San Marino not to score a goal other than a penalty. Gareth Southgate’s side were one of the favorites for success in Qatar this winter and it’s easy to see why after their run to the last four in Russia four years ago and then to the final of the European Championships last summer. But in recent form, they will be lucky to get out of their group.

Their embarrassment was confirmed in game five as they crumbled to a 1-0 loss to a weakened Italy. Giacomo Raspadori’s second-half strike was enough to secure victory for the hosts and in turn, confirmed a humble relegation to League B. Despite the wealth of talent in the English ranks – like Harry Kane, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham – Southgate just can’t get the most out of its superstars. Whether he can stem the tide before their World Cup campaign against Iran begins remains to be seen, but the future definitely looks ominous for the England manager.

Hungary surprise Germany in Leipzig to seal their place among the continent’s rising stars

Hungary’s rise has been one of the main talking points this entire Nations League campaign, and the recent run of fixtures has been no different. As previously mentioned, Marco Rossi’s side had already done the double against England – nonetheless scoring five unanswered goals. They also managed to earn a hard-earned point against Germany in Budapest earlier in the competition, but their shining moment would come in the reverse game.

They traveled to Leipzig knowing that a positive result would leave them in pole position in qualifying for the last four later in the year, although the bookmakers did not give them much of a chance. The bookmakers made them 9/1 underdogs on the road, but their positive away performance against the Germans in the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament will have given them hope. And they put that hope to good use.

Ádám Szalai – who scored in that 2-2 draw in Munich last summer – gave the visitors an early lead, and it was one they would not give up. Tough defending under pressure in the second half saw the Hungarians head south-east with all three points, and with another illustrious scalp claimed.

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