European heavyweights enjoy winning starts in Nations League

Kylian Mbappe of France crosses the ball while under pressure from Sebastian Larsson of Sweden during the UEFA Nations League group stage match between Sweden and France at Friends Arena on September 05, 2020 in Stockholm, Sweden.

European heavyweights England, world champions France, holders Portugal and Belgium all enjoyed winning starts to their UEFA Nations League campaigns on Saturday even if there were signs of international rust following the coronavirus shutdown.

England needed a stoppage-time penalty to beat Iceland 1-0 while France saw off Sweden by the same scoreline.

Kylian Mbappe scored with France's only shot on goal in Solna to give the world champions a 1-0 victory over Sweden.

Mbappe picked up the ball wide of the goal in the 41st minute, squeezed past two defenders, waited for goalkeeper Robin Olsen to go down and then clipped the ball just inside the post from the narrowest of angles.

"It was a committed match, not a great match," said France manager Didier Deschamps. "It was a good back-to-school game, considering the fitness levels."

In Porto, Cristiano Ronaldo was missing with an infected toe – caused by a bee sting according to Italian media – but Portugal were still too good for a disappointing Croatia.

Joao Cancelo, Diogo Jota, with his first international goal, Joao Felix and Andre Silva were all on target for Portugal who also hit the woodwork three times.

"It has been a long time since we all got together and some players came straight from their vacation, but the team responded well," said Felix.

Croatia were without Luca Modric and Ivan Rakitic who boast a total of 233 caps between them.
Powered by Blogger.