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Germany & England lose; Hungary on verge of finals

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Friday night saw more action at every level of the Nations League as the 2022/23 group stage nears its conclusion. Some promotions and relegations have already been confirmed, while others have positioned themselves ready for the final round of matches next week.

Here’s a summary of everything that happened…

Nations League A, Group 3

England have been relegated from League A for the first time after defeat in Milan against Italy left them too far adrift at the bottom of their group with a game still left to play. Giacomo Raspadori scored the only goal of a low quality match in the second half.

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19-year-old Jude Bellingham impressed for England, but Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling were all too quiet. Declan Rice also failed to put his stamp on proceedings.

From being in danger of relegation had they lost, Italy could even reach the finals if they can beat group leaders Hungary on Monday.

Unexpected group leaders Hungary put one foot in the finals with another victory. Adam Szalai scored just 17 minutes into the contest and although Germany utterly dominated possession, both sides created a similar number of chances.

Hungary will reach the finals as long as they avoid defeat to Italy at home in three days’ time.

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Nations League B, Group 3

There was nothing to split Finland and Romania as both continue to fight off the threat of relegation to League C. Teemu Pukki netted early in the contest, with an equaliser from Florin Tanase soon after the interval to leave things delicately poised ahead of matchday six.

Finland hold a one-point advantage over Romania in the standings, but one will be relegated.

Bosnia, meanwhile, have secured promotion to League A for the next edition of the Nations League thanks to their narrow victory over Balkan neighbours.

Ermedin Demirovic scored the only goal of the game in first half stoppage time.

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Nations League C, Group 4

Bulgaria put to bed any faint threat of shock relegation to League D by thrashing Gibraltar with their first win of this Nations League campaign. They cannot be caught and Gibraltar drop down instead.

Valentin Antov opened the scoring, although Gibraltar did cause a scare with an immediate equaliser – that proved to be their only shot on target. Kiril Despodov restored the lead before half-time and Bulgaria eventually pulled away after the break.

Georgia sealed their place in League B next time out by beating promotion rivals North Macedonia to go six points clear with only one game left to play.

An own goal from Bojan Miovski got the ball rolling in the first half, with in-form Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia sealing the victory just over an hour in.

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Nations League D, Group 2

An 86th minute winner from Estonia’s Henri Anier secured victory over Malta. A penalty deep into first half stoppage time had put the Baltic state ahead, with a Maltese penalty making it 1-1 early in the second half. The result puts Estonia three points ahead of Malta in the standings.



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EPL

RUMOUR: Man Utd could launch shock Pickford swoop as they consider letting De Gea go

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RUMOUR: Man Utd could launch shock Pickford swoop as they consider letting De Gea go

Manchester United may consider a shock bid for Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the midst of uncertainty encompassing David De Gea’s future, reports propose.

As per the Telegraph, United are not persuaded they need to broaden De Gea’s agreement, which runs out in June and procures him an astounding £350,000, and could allow him to go free of charge in June.

The Spanish shot-stopper, who was omitted from Luis Enrique’s Spain squad for the international break, suffered a poor start to the season with a raft of errors most notably at Brentford.

And United are also dealing with a high wage bill that reached a Premier League record of £384million last season.

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The Red Devils announced earlier this week that their salaries have increased by a whopping £61.6m from the previous year.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return as well as Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane’s arrivals led to a 19.1 per cent increase in their salary bill as well as a net loss amounting to £115.5m.

United are assessing their long-term plans and a change between the sticks can’t be ruled out, even though De Gea, 31, has improved recently and has been integral in the last 11 years at Old Trafford.

That could bring England’s No1 Pickford, 28, into the frame come January.

The Everton shot stopper has various clubs carefully monitoring his situation as he will have just one year left on his Everton contract at the end of the season.

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The England international is also a homegrown player, which is very appealing to his suitors.

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Rob Page says Wales ‘will be in contact’ with LAFC regarding Gareth Bale’s World Cup fitness

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Wales boss Rob Page has revealed he’ll remain in close contact with LAFC regarding Gareth Bale’s fitness as the World Cup approaches.

Bale played the full 90 minutes as Wales lost 1-0 against Poland on Sunday in a result that confirmed their relegation from their UEFA Nations League group.

However, that’s the first time the 33-year-old has managed a full game at any level since March of this year, while he hasn’t gone 90 at club level since a La Liga match against Getafe for Real Madrid in April 2020.

Wales’ next game is their World Cup Group B opener against the United States on November 21. Before then, it’s vital Bale plays as many minutes as possible in the MLS regular season and Playoffs for LAFC.

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“They want Gareth available for them and we want him in the physical position for the first [World Cup] game against the USA. We will be in contact with them and make sure he is in the right place,” Page said of Bale’s situation at LAFC, where only two of the forward’s 11 appearances have been from the start.

“What he does from now until the first game, we will be in contact with the club and help manage those minutes. They are a good outfit, LA, so they will know exactly how to get him from where he is now to full fitness, which is 90 minutes week in, week out.”

LAFC are level on 64 points with the Philadelphia Union at the top of the overall MLS standings. The Black and Gold have just two more regular season games remaining – away to the Portland Timbers and at home against Nashville SC – before they begin their Playoffs run.

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Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.



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Federico Bernardeschi reveals why he switched Juventus for Toronto FC & MLS

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Federico Bernardeschi has revealed he had multiple offers after leaving Juventus, but the ambition of Toronto FC and Major League Soccer played a key role in his move across the Atlantic.

The 28-year-old Italy international was one of a number of eye-catching additions for TFC this summer alongside compatriots Lorenzo Insigne – who agreed a contract earlier in the year – and Domenico Criscito.

Speaking to TLN, Bernardeschi has revealed he turned down other offers from ‘important’ clubs to move to Toronto.

“I believe that I finished a journey at Juventus. There were various teams we spoke to, and various teams that came forward,” he said.

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“They’re important names and I thank them, but there were little things that didn’t work out one way or another. With Toronto, everything went smoothly.”

Though TFC have continued to struggle, Bernardeschi has made an excellent start in MLS, scoring eight goals and assisting another two in his first 11 appearances.

That’s given the forward plenty of time to evaluate the quality of the league, and Bernardeschi has certainly been impressed by MLS so far.

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“I think MLS has a great future, I think they have very big projects, not only here in Toronto as they’re showing, but for the entire league,” he said.

“This is good for all football worldwide but especially for football and sport in North America. It is beautiful to see and for sure it’s beautiful to be a part of.”

Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.

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