Scotland v Israel, Romania v Northern Ireland: Nations League – live! | Football
With the exception of Group D2, all the teams will play six games in the league stage of the competition. Covid-permitting, those matches will be completed by 18 November, so this is the stop of a busy period in international football. The finals will then take place in September or October 2021. It’s not ideal, but well, you know.
“Ok, Rob, I’ll come clean,” says Simon McMahon. “I‘ve kind of lost touch with international football, there’s not exactly been much to write home about for Scotland’s men over the past, say, 22 years. I thought tonight was the Euro play-off. And knowing how these things work, Scotland had better EFFING LOSE!”
Look, it’s really not that difficult to understand: if Scotland win tonight, a point against Brazil on Tuesday will ensure a place in the last 16.
Lithuania 0-2 Kazakhstan is the final score in the early kick-off. That’s an excellent win for Kazakhstan, whose next game is at home to Belarus on Tuesday.
This is an interesting game for Scotland, who meet Israel again next month in a Euro 2020 playoff semi-final. That game will also be at Hampden, so this is a slightly deluxe dress rehearsal.
In case you missed it: Lionel Messi is staying at Barcelona, for now.
Scotland v Israel team news
Lyndon Dykes, QPR’s Australian-born forward, makes his debut for Scotland. It looks like Scott McTominay will play in a back three.
Scotland (3-4-2-1) Marshall; McTominay, McKenna, Tierney; Forrest, Jack, McGregor, Robertson; McGinn, Christie; Dykes.
Israel (4-3-3) Marciano; Dasa, Tibi, Bitton, Tawatha; Elhamed, Natcho, Peretz; Solomon, Dabbur, Zahavi.
Romania v Northern Ireland team news
Romania (4-3-1-2) Tatarusanu; Hanca, Chiriches, Tosca, Bancu; Stanciu, Cicaldau, Maxim; Hagi; Puscas, Alibec.
Northern Ireland (3-4-2-1) Peacock-Farrell; McNair, Cathcart, Ballard; Dallas, S Davis, C Evans, Lewis; Magennis, Saville; Washington.
Netherlands v Poland team news
Netherlands (4-3-3) Cillessen; Hateboer, Veltman, van Dijk, Ake; De Roon, Wijnaldum, de Jong; Bergwijn, Depay, Promes.
Poland (4-4-1-1) Szczesny; Kedziora, Glik, Bednarek, Bereszynski; Szymanski, Krychowiak, Klich, Jozwiak; Zielinski; Pjatek.
Italy v Bosnia and Herzegovina team news
Italy (4-3-3) Donnarumma; Florenzi, Bonucci, Acerbi, Biraghi; Pellegrini, Sensi, Barella; Chiesa, Belotti, Insigne.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (4-3-3) Sehic; Cipetic, Sunjic, Sanicanin, Kolasinac; Cimirot, Hadziahmetovic, Gojak; Visca, Dzeko, Hodzic.
Hot damn, it’s the Nations League Matchday 1 part two! I don’t know about you, but I’m warming to this tournament. Sure, I don’t have a clue how it relates to World Cup qualification, and it doesn’t feel essential to the morale of society right now. But the basic idea – promotion and relegation in international football – is pretty exciting. And the whole thing feels a lot better with groups of four rather than three.
The main advantage of the divisional structure is that it means a lot more competitive matches than, say, the European Championship qualifiers. Almost all of the teams are playing their peers and thus have a realistic chance of getting a result, which surely beats being spanked 12-0 by Belgium. Last night’s opening round of fixtures bear that out – there were ten games, only one with more than a single goal between the sides.
There is still the broader question of meaning (“career highlight: getting promoted to League C of the Nations League”), but that should become clearer over time, and the signs from the inaugural tournament are that the players have bought into it.
There are eight more games tonight across four groups. The human brain is not yet capable of watching eight matches simultaneously, so we’ll be focussing on the ones in bold. (All are 7.45pm BST kick-offs unless stated)
- A1 Italy v Bosnia and Herzegovina
- A1 Netherlands v Poland
- B1 Norway v Austria
- B1 Romania v Northern Ireland
- B2 Scotland v Israel
- B2 Slovakia v Czech Republic
- C4 Belarus v Albania
- C4 Lithuania 0-1 Kazakhstan (5pm)