England and France are on the verge of relegation after slumping to another defeat at home and possibly replaced by Norway and Ukraine.
The Three Lions suffered their worst defeat in 94 years after losing out to Hungary at their home turf. Harry Kane and Co were hapless and dismantled 4-0. The fatigue after the long and intense season seems to be the main problem in them. As the most competitive league, EPL has drained the spirit and energy of the English players somehow, especially for those who also played in continental competition. It has been a concern for England boss, Gareth Southgate who fears that the players burnout could endanger their world cup campaign. In the midweek match, Southgate’s side barely had any clear chances and conceded quite easily from Roland Sallai’s brace, Zsolt Nagy and Daniel Gazdag. With only two points in hand and two games ahead against Germany and Italy, they are unlikely to salvage their position.
Ironically, the reigning champions, France, faces the same issue. They were beaten again at home, this time by Croatia 1-0. Luka Modric scored through an early penalty. Unfortunately, Kylian Mbappe and Co were not able to respond well. They had a number of decent chances from the PSG star, Karim Benzema, and Christopher Nkunku but none could break the deadlock. This is their second defeat at home after shockingly defeated by Denmark 2-1 previously. Didier Deschamps’ men have only collected two points as well and still have two games remaining against Austria and Denmark. Another loss could cost their status in league A.
Meanwhile in league B, Norway and Ukraine are set to be promoted. They have shown their quality and consistency in the first four games. Both sides have earned 10 and seven points respectively. This week, Stale Solbakken’s men crushed Sweden 3-2. Erling Haaland once again was on the spotlights with his brace followed by Real Sociedad’s Alexander Sorloth who put them up front before Emile Forsberg and Viktor Gyokeres scored. Norway has two games left against Slovenia and Serbia in September.
Norway vs Sweden 3-2
Goals: Erling Haaland (10,54), Alexander Sorloth (77); Emil Forsberg (62), Viktor Gyokeres (90+5)
Norway: Nyland – Strandberg, Ostigard, Bjorkan, Julian Ryerson (Marcus Pedersen 66) – Sander Berge, Morten Thorsby (Patrick Berg 66), Martin Odegaard (Kristian Thorstvedt 66) – Mats Daehli ( Mohammed Elyanoussi 57), Erling Haaland (Veton Berisha 89), Alexander Sorloth
Sweden: Robin Olsen – Emil Kraft, Gudmundsson, Albin Ekdal, Edvin Kurtulus (Sotiris Papagainnopoulos 85) – Emil Forsberg, Cajuste (Magnus Eriksson 83), Jesper Karlstorm (Victor Claesson 59) – Alexander Isak (Viktor Gyokeres 58), Dejan Kulusevski, Robin Quaison (Anthony Elanga 58)
Ukraine, on the other hand, could only muster a 1-1 draw when staging their ‘home’ games against Ireland in Lodz, Poland. After thumping the Green Boys in the reverse fixture, they were under pressure more here since Stephen Kenny’s men was more confident after their 3-0 win over Scotland. They even took the lead first through Nathan Collins before Artem Dovbyk found the equaliser right after the interval. Andrey Yarmolenko and Co have three fixtures ahead with one home game whose the venue has yet been decided, against Scotland, and the other away fixtures versus Armenia and The Tartan Army again in Hampden Park.