Nations League; England defeat Belgium, as France play out a goalless draw against Portugal

England came from behind to overcome the world’s top-ranked team Belgium 2-1 to record an important Nations League victory at Wembley just days after defeating Wales at the same location. 

Belgium took a deserved lead when Romelu Lukaku sent England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford the wrong way after the striker had been brought down by Eric Dier’s poor challenge.

England were on the back foot for most of the first half but were handed a lifeline back into the game six minutes before half-time when captain Jordan Henderson went down very easily in a tussle with Thomas Meunier, Marcus Rashford scoring from the spot.

Gareth Southgate’s side enjoyed much more possession after the break but needed a large slice of luck to take the lead after 64 minutes, Mason Mount’s effort deflecting off Toby Alderweireld and looping over keeper Simon Mignolet to inflict Belgium’s first loss since November 2018.

Both sides continue in Nations League action on Wednesday evening. England host Denmark at Wembley while Belgium travel to Iceland. 


European champions, Portugal went toe-to-toe with France, holding the 2018 World Cup winners to a 0-0 draw in Paris.

Returning to the Stade de France for the first time since defeating Didier Deschamps’ side in the Euro 2016 final, it was a big day for Portugal boss Fernando Santos, who became the stand-alone record holder for the number of matches overseen as manager of Portugal, topping the 74-game tally obtained by Luiz Felipe Scolari.

It also marked 6 years to the day since Santos’ first match as Portugal manager – which coincidentally also came against France in the exact same venue – though Portugal lost 2-1 on that occasion.

They were unable to mark the anniversary with a victory though, failing to break through France as two very disciplined defensive performances nullified the exceptional attacking flair that was on offer from both sides.

Both sides enjoyed good possession in the first half, followed by resilient defending, and the deadlock was, unsurprisingly, unbroken going into the break.

With the second half did come a more open game though, as both teams became more adventurous, allowing the game to become a little stretched, at least early on. It led to France’s best chance of the game, when Mbappe danced past Danilo Pereira, but failed to beat the outstretched hand of Rui Patricio with a dinked effort.

Portugal did find the back of the net through a powerful Pepe header later on, but the flag rightly went up for offside. Cristiano Ronaldo then very nearly won it for Portugal right at the death, but his powerful effort was pushed out by Hugo Lloris in the French goal, ensuring that the game ended goalless between both team who had nothing but massive respect for each other. 

The draw leaves the group in the balance, with Portugal and France joint at the top of the table with 7 points from 3 games, Portugal only ahead on goal difference in the current standings.

Nations League Results

France 0-0 Portugal

Iceland 0-3 Denmark

Poland 0-0 Italy 

Israel 1-2 Czech Republic 

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