A busy June of UEFA Nations League matches came to an end on Tuesday night with five teams containing Chelsea players in action.
There were wins for Germany, Belgium and Scotland but losses for Wales and England, an especially heavy one for the latter.
Timo Werner scored the fourth and fifth goals as Germany hammered Italy 5-2 in Monchengladbach.
The Chelsea striker slid in at the far post to convert a square ball from Serge Gnabry for his first, after the Germans had moved the ball slickly and quickly into the penalty area. Werner’s second came just over a minute later when an ill-judged pass out from Gianluigi Donnarumma was intercepted by Gnabry with a pass to Werner, who stabbed home and was on the right side of a VAR check for offside.
Kai Havertz remained on the bench in a match that was well on the way to being decided by half-time due to goals from Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gundogan. The second of those was from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.
Werner had been involved in the move for the first goal, as he was later on in the first half when a shooting chance was created for Jonas Hoffmann. Donnarumma made the save, as he did from Werner himself before the second goal was scored.
After a bright start to the second half for Italy, Thomas Muller made it 3-0 to the Germans ahead of Werner’s quickfire double. Italy scored their consolation two goals after our player had gone off, with the second of those in the 95th minute.
One enough for Belgium
Michy Batshuayi was another player on the scoresheet, his 25th international goal in 45 appearances proving to be the only one of the game as Belgium won in Poland.He broke the deadlock early in the game with a lovely diving header from a Youri Tielemans cross. Poland missed chances in the first half, Thorgan Hazard went close for the Belgians in the second, with their win taking them up to second in their Nations League group, three points behind the Netherlands.
Deja-vu for the Welsh
The Dutch won 3-2 in Rotterdam against Wales who for the second time this month against the same opposition, lost agonisingly late the game.Ethan Ampadu was in the Wales side that went 2-0 down before Brennan Johnson pulled a goal back in the first half.Playing in midfield, Ampadu had a shot on 65 minutes but sent it wide but with 90 minutes played, VAR award his side a penalty which was converted by substitute Gareth Bale. However almost straight from the kick-off, another substitute Memphis Depay scored a winner. Wales are bottom of the group with one point from four.
Scotland return to winning ways
Billy Gilmour returned to the Scotland starting line-up for their match earlier in the day – away to Armenia.Steve Clarke’s side conceded very early on but Gilmour began the response soon after with a shot from the edge of the box that was pushed over. Southampton’s Stuart Armstrong did equalise on 14 minutes before Armenia had a goal chalked off due to offside.The Scots were improving on the ball while looking shaky at the back, but their situation improved massively just before half-time. Firstly, their opponents had a man sent off for a second yellow as he continued a confrontation immediately after earning his first card. Then Armstrong scored his second goal for a 2-1 half-time lead.It was soon even better for Scotland in the second half when John McGinn continued the high level of finishing and by the 53rd minute, Che Adams on the break had made it 4-1. Gilmour was withdrawn 10 minutes later, one of three changes made by Clarke at that stage.There were no more goals but Armenia’s misery was compounded by a second sending off. Scotland’s second win in three Nations League games places them second in their group, one point behind Ukraine.
England fall to Hungary again
England are bottom of theirs and face the prospect of relegation with two points from four games. Germany are second with seven points.Reece James was started at left-back by Gareth Southgate in England’s shock 4-0 home defeat by Hungary and from that position the Chelsea man created the first chance when he crossed to Jarrod Bowen at the far post but the West Ham man could not direct his header.
Conor Gallagher was selected in midfield but having begun the previous three England matches this month, Mason Mount was on the bench.The match was at Molineux again, but this time with a normal crowd who witnessed the home side go behind when they did not deal well with a free-kick into the box.James clearing another free-kick from the goalmouth prevented further damage midway through the half and it also set England on the break with Gallagher involved, but no chance on goal could be fashioned.Gallagher was part of a later break that almost led to an own goal, the Hungary goalie keeping out a misdirected header. Gallagher followed up with a cross that Jude Bellingham attacked but to no avail so the score remained 1-0 going in at the break.
A switch to a back-three at half-time moved James to his more accustomed right wing-back role and he played a terrific cross that evaded the boot of Harry Kane by a fraction.Mount was brought on just 10 minutes into the second half, replacing Gallagher but with just over 20 minutes to go, Hungary won the ball off Kalvin Phillips and moved it quickly for Roland Sallai, who plays for Freiburg in Germany, to score his second goal.James kept the dangerous crosses coming but matters got worse for the Three Lions. Kane did head against the bar but then Hungary hammered in their third goal, John Stones was sent off for a second yellow card harshly awarded, and the away side converted their fourth in the 89th minute to the audible anger of the West Midlands crowd.