Friday, June 17, 2022

Nations League

England Humiliated

England’s national team suffered its worst home defeat since 1928 in a 4-0 European Nations League defeat to Hungary on Tuesday. A lineup laden with Premier League stars delivered England’s worst result at any venue in 12 years. The loss at Wolverhampton’s Molineux Stadium was England’s second Nations League loss to Hungary this month and puts England at serious risk of relegation from its Nations League group when play resumes in September.

England’s two losses to Hungary, which included a 1-0 defeat in the first meeting with the Hungarians, have been accompanied in group play this month by 0-0 and 1-1 draws with Italy and Germany, respectively. Offensive futility was wed with defensive fragility on Tuesday. Manchester City center back John Stones had a difficult evening before being sent off with a second yellow card late in the match. A poorly headed clearance attempt by Stones set up Hungary’s first goal. A missed tackle by Leeds’s Kalvin Philips led to Hungary’s second goal. Kyle Walker was out of position for Hungary’s third goal. Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale allowed four of Hungary’s five shots on goal into the net. The collapse of the defense increased the angst of supporters who were already concerned about the club’s attack. England has scored but one goal in its four Nations League matches during this international run of play, a penalty kick by Harry Kane against Germany. England’s power outage and unappealing style of play has increased criticism of England Manager Gareth Southgate despite his success in recent major tournaments. England reached the semifinals of the last World Cup followed by a finals appearance in last year’s European Championship. Southgate made nine changes to the line-up he used in the draw with Italy last weekend and accepted his share of responsibility for the debacle against Hungary that ensued. Supporters at Molineux roundly booed the England team after the club’s worst embarrassment since a loss to Iceland in the 2016 World Cup. Nations League play resumes September 23rd with England sitting bottom of its four-nation group.

Three Goals from Premier Leaguers in Germany Win

Timo Werner, whose Chelsea club future may be uncertain, scored a brace for country in a 5-2 Germany mauling of Italy in Nations League competition. Werner scored his two goals inside a two-minute span of the second half for the final two goals of Germany’s romp.

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan had earlier scored a penalty kick to give Germany a two goal first half advantage. The win surprisingly marked Germany’s first competitive victory over Italy in 11 meetings between the countries. German manager Hansi Flick extended his undefeated run as manager of Die Mannschaft to 13 matches. Werner scored just four goals in 21 matches for Chelsea last season. The scorer of 28 goals in the Bundesliga for RB Leipzig just three seasons ago has had a difficult time in the Premier League. Compounding a lack of production by Werner has been his head scratching lack of marksmanship in converting clear chances. Werner provides an element of speed and high work rate, but Manager Thomas Tuchel seemed to lose confidence in his forward this past season and looked to the club’s numerous other attack options. Werner’s future with Chelsea could benefit should the London side part ways with unhappy center forward Romelu Lukaku this transfer window.

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