Nations league | Italy beats Bosnia-Herzegovina, seals top spot in group

Lukaku’s brace lifts Belgium against Denmark; Foden and Rice find the target as England eases past 10-man Iceland

November 19, 2020 10:08 pm | Updated 10:08 pm IST - SARAJEVO

The hero: Romelu Lukaku was the star for Belgium with his 56th and 57th international goals.

The hero: Romelu Lukaku was the star for Belgium with his 56th and 57th international goals.

Italy earned the right to host a star-filled Nations League finals that will feature the current No. 1-ranked team and three of the past four World Cup champions.

Italy’s 2-0 victory at Bosnia-Herzegovina on Wednesday sealed top spot in Group 1 above the Netherlands, which beat Poland 2-1.

That group winner had been pre-selected to host the Final Four next October.

Top-ranked Belgium also booked its place in that knockout bracket, lifted by Romelu Lukaku’s 56th and 57th international goals in a 4-2 win over Denmark.

Belgium and Italy join Spain and France, who topped groups that finished Tuesday.

That means the tournament will feature the winners of the World Cup in 2006, 2010 and 2018.

A total of 18 games were played on Wednesday to complete a difficult 2020 programme for Europe’s 55 national teams amid a spike in the coronavirus pandemic.

Young guns fire

At London, England’s young guns Phil Foden and Declan Rice scored their first international goals in a 4-0 demolition of 10-man Iceland. Gareth Southgate’s side was already out of contention to reach the Nations League finals after Sunday’s defeat against Belgium.

But he had insisted the dead rubber was important to his planning for next year’s European Championship and his players took that message to heart.

Rice netted in the first half at Wembley as he became the first West Ham player to score for England in 10 years. Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount increased England’s lead before Foden struck twice after Iceland defender Birkir Mar Saevarsson was sent off for two bookable offences.

The results: League A, Group 1: At Sarajevo: Bosnia and Herzegovina 0 lost to Italy 2 (Belotti 22, Berardi 68).

At Chorzow: Poland 1 (Jozwiak 6) lost to the Netherlands 2 (Depay 77-pen, Wijnaldum 84).

Group 2: At London: England 4 (Rice 20, Mount 24, Foden 80, 84) bt Iceland 0.

At Leuven: Belgium 4 (Tielemans 3, Lukaku 56, 69, de Bruyne 88) bt Denmark 2 (Wind 17, Chadli 87-og).

League B, Group 1: Northern Ireland 1 (Boyce 56) drew with Romania 1 (Bicfalvi 81); Austria 1 (Grbic 90+4) drew with Norway 1 (Zahid 61).

Group 2: Israel 1 (Solomon 44) bt Scotland 0; Czech Republic 2 (Soucek 17, Ondrasek 55) bt Slovakia 0.

Group 3: Serbia 5 (Radonjic 10, Jovic 25, 45+1, Vlahovic 41, Mladenovic 64) bt Russia 0; Hungary 2 (Siger 57, Varga 90+5) bt Turkey 0.

Group 4: Republic of Ireland 0 drew with Bulgaria 0; Wales 3 (Wilson 29, James 46, Moore 84) bt Finland 1 (Pukki 63).

League C, Group 2: Armenia 1 (Hambartsumyan 55) bt North Macedonia 0; Georgia 0 drew with Estonia 0.

Group 3: Kosovo 1 (Kastrati 31) bt Moldova 0; Greece 0 Slovenia 0.

Group 4: Kazakhstan 1 (Aimbetov 38) lost to Lithuania 2 (Vorobjovas 40, Novikovas 90+4).

Albania 3 (Cikalleshi 20, 27-pen, Manaj 44) bt Belarus 2 (Skavysh 35, Ebong 80) .

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