Spain and Turkey victories augur well for Nations League’s future

first_img Luxembourg thrive among their peers and can dream of Euro 2020 place There have still been bumps on the road. Germany and France did not read the script for what was billed as another high-octane encounter, although it is worth noting that even this goalless draw became considerably better as it progressed, improved by attempts from the bench to win it rather than simply shuffle the pack. It is incumbent upon the bigger countries, offered this chance to compete meaningfully, to turn up for these games in order to maintain interest.That is where the format may yet contain flaws. The three-team groups that make up Leagues A and B may, in some instances, be settled before the November fixtures; it would already take an unlikely set of results for England to overhaul Spain, although the spectre of League B assignments with Finland and Bulgaria in the 2020-21 edition should keep them keen. Uefa’s decision to use head-to-head as a tiebreaker, rather than goal difference, does not help matters in the broader view, even if the freakish margin of Spain’s rout on Tuesday night shows their working. As seen at Euro 2016, head-to-head negates some teams’ prospects before their final games have kicked off; the Nations League is not sufficiently established to easily absorb a slew of dead rubbers.It is why praise must come with a few caveats for now. But Uefa’s efforts to reinvent the international calendar could hardly have asked for a more uplifting start. In football, after all, it is the hope that thrills you. Read more Share on Facebook Nations League Turkey Share via Email Share on Pinterest The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Those sentiments apply particularly to those further down, where Leagues C and D produced games that were generally tighter and tenser. In many cases they involved teams for whom this kind of pressure and tension – the thought of a place at Euro 2020 looming large – had been alien. And everyone had their own reason to cherish the new territory. It would have taken a heart of stone not to be moved by the celebrations when Kosovo, likely to be one of Europe’s fastest risers over the next five years, beat the Faroe Islands 2-0 in their first competitive match on home soil and paid emotional tribute to their late FA president, Fadil Vokrri. Meaningful football raises the stakes: when something serious is on offer at the end of the line, every sensation is heightened. Read more A pile-on by the corner flag in Stockholm said it best. Turkey had just come from two goals down to defeat a seemingly comfortable Sweden and, in those chaotic moments after Emre Akbaba’s header drifted past a slow-footed Robin Olsen, a full 20 seconds passed before their outfield players disentangled themselves from the jubilant scrum beyond the quadrant.It was some way for Turkey, so reliably inconsistent, to ignite their Uefa Nations League campaign and it was just as significant for the nascent tournament itself. Akbaba had entered as a substitute in the 62nd minute: in a friendly he would have been one of up to six replacements for his country and probably a footnote as the match degenerated; here he was introduced, as one of Mircea Lucescu’s permitted three, at 2-1 down in a clear attempt to swing the pendulum. The winning goal was his second in three minutes and the scenes that followed it were coloured with the kind of wild, wide‑eyed joy that few noncompetitive games can replicate. features As a case study in the new event’s ability to transform previously humdrum affairs, it was unimpeachable. When Uefa collects wider feedback on the Nations League’s opening week, it is likely to receive approving noises. Not every note has been pitch-perfect but the signs are encouraging: an average of 2.9 goals a game across League A and League B, which corral most current and traditional powers, is a particularly good look and suggests a continuation of the positive, engaged football seen two months previously at the World Cup.In fact such a well-received tournament in Russia gave the new event, which attracted considerable scepticism at the outset, all the impetus and potential for continuing storylines that it could have needed.Before Spain, playing football of exhilarating tempo and imagination in the final hour, swamped Croatia with a flurry of sublime goals the interest lay in how both parties would respond to summers of such contrasting fortune. After full time mouths were agape at the turnaround, wondering at the left foot of Marco Asensio and asking whether a rejuvenated La Roja may rule Europe again. What is more, Spain had kept going until the end. Luis Enrique said his team “now have to win again against England or Croatia”. Hardly words to hold the back page for, and a sentiment that may not actually be the case given their supremacy in group A4, but this was the comforting timbre of tournament-speak: the perpetual looking ahead; the pleasure and optimism of feeling embroiled in a wider narrative.center_img Spain Sportblog Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Sweden Croatia Asensio and Saúl inspire new-look Spain to six-goal thrashing of Croatia Share on LinkedIn Topics Share on WhatsApp Uefa Reuse this contentlast_img read more

QSST win Girls 18’s final at NYC

first_imgTwo touchdowns to captain Emily Reed has helped QSST beat NSWCHS in the 18’s Girls final at the X-Blades National Youth Championships in Coffs Harbour. Reed scored one touch down in each half to lead her team to a 6-2 win at BCU International Stadium.QSST and NSWCHS were worthy of their places in the final, being seeded 1 and 2 respectively in the tournament. Leading into the game, both teams had set the benchmark in attack and defence, with QSST only letting through 8 touchdowns in the carnival and NSWCHS only letting through 10.NSWCHS started the game off strong, with Melissa Peters scoring in her first set of six.QSST retaliated and were on the scorecard within the next set of six, scoring through Reed.The opening exchanges were intense, with plenty of ground being made by both teams. However, there was a lot of dropped ball early and QSST gave away several penalties, giving NSWCHS a great opportunity.Despite having several sets of six close to their line in the early stages of the game, NSWCHS were unable to capitalise and QSST pounced.QSST’s Alika Bedford put her team in front for the first time in the 13th minute, scoring in the corner to give the Queensland girls a 2-1 lead.Kirsty Quince scored for QSST 3 minutes later, on the back of a penalty from the NSW team. NSWCHS fought back quickly to score through Rachel Beck in the next set of six.Desperate defence from NSWCHS player, Jordan McGregor in the 19 minute, stopped the score from blowing out and QSST went to the halftime break leading 3-2.Reed was in again for QSST in the opening set of the second half, scoring her second touchdown. Betty Mareko scored 3 minutes later, blowing the score out to 5-2.After a Latisha Gary intercept in the 5th minute of the second half, NSWCHS’ Eliza Naseby was sin binned after an attempt to chase her down.Although NSWCHS had many opportunities in the second half, they were unable to convert these opportunities into points, despite back to back sets of six and ample time close to their line.QSST’s Latisha Gary intercepted the ball in the closing minutes of the game, to put the game beyond doubt for the Queensland girls, with QSST winning by 4 touchdowns.  Kirsty Quince was named player of the match, and Alicia Quirk was named 18’s Girls player of the championships.last_img read more