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What do Croatia need to win the UEFA Nations League?

Croatia celebrate beating Spain in Zagreb (HNS)

UEFA’s inaugural Nations League group stages are drawing to a close and Croatia’s thrilling injury-time 3-2 win against Spain has kept them in the hunt. 

How does the UEFA Nations League work?

The strongest league, League A, has four groups. The winners of each of the four groups in League A advance to the final four of the competition. Semi-finals will be played before the UEFA Nations League final. Those matches will be played in a yet to be decided European city in June 2019. 

The teams that finish bottom of the group in League A are relegated to a group in League B. Teams that finish at the top of the group in League B are promoted to League A.  

Only a win last night in Zagreb gave Croatia hope of reaching the semi-finals after the earlier loss to Spain and draw against England. 

With only the England v Croatia match remaining in the group, the standings are as follows. 

Current standings (UEFA)

So what can happen?

  • Croatia beat England and Croatia win the group and go through, England relegated
  • A score draw and Spain win the group and go through, England relegated
  • England beat Croatia and England win the group and go through, Croatia relegated 
  • Goalless draw and Spain win the group and through, Croatia relegated 

So the equation is fairly simple for Zlatko Dalić and the Croatian team, beat England and a semi-final spot is assured. A draw with goals would mean Croatia stays up in the top league but anything else would see them drop to League B. 

England and Croatia meet at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 18 November at 2 pm local time. 

Here are how the other three groups in League A stand.

Group 1 (UEFA Nations League)

Group 2 (UEFA Nations League)

Group 3 (UEFA Nations League)

France, Belgium and Portugal look favoured to go through in the remaining groups.

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