Victory favorites for defending champion Portugal

Berlin (dpa) – The favorites did justice to their role in the Nations League at the start: defending champion Portugal in particular convinced – even without the short-lived missing Cristiano Ronaldo.

The European champions won Group 3 of League A against World Cup number two Croatia 4-1 (1-0). In the second game of the group, world champion France had a much more difficult 1-0 (1-0) victory in Sweden.

Ronaldo had to fail due to an infection on his toe, according to media reports after a bee sting – and is therefore waiting for his 100th international goal. From the stands, the 35-year-old saw a cheerful Portuguese team. Just before half-time, Joao Cancelo scored the well-deserved lead with a remarkable left-hand shot (41st), followed by Diogo Jota (58th) and Joao Felix (70th) after half time. In injury time, Bruno Petkovic (90 + 1) shortened for the disappointing Croatians, before AndrĂ© Silva (90 + 4) of the recently replaced Eintracht Frankfurt put down the last point.

The French, for whom the Leipzig Bundesliga pro Dayot Upamecano appeared on his debut from the start, delivered an unspectacular performance in Sweden. A single appearance by Kylian Mbappé shortly before half time, when he fooled three opponents and goalkeeper Robin Olsen in the short corner, brought the goal of the day (41.). Antoine Griezmann shot a penalty over the goal in the last action of the match (90 + 5).

In Group 2, England also won 1-0 (0-0) in Iceland after a turbulent final phase. Raheem Sterling first converted a hand penalty into the late lead (90.), immediately after the restart Joe Gomez caused a penalty, which Birkir Bjarnason shot over the goal (90. + 3).

In addition, the Englishman Kyle Walker (70th) and the Icelander Sverrir Ingason (90th) each saw the yellow-red card. In the evening game, Belgium, third in the World Cup, won 2-0 (1-0) in Denmark thanks to goals from Jason Denayer (9th) and Dries Mertens (76th).

Gibraltar won 1-0 (1-0) against San Marino in a duel between the football dwarves. It was only the fifth victory in an official international match for number 196 in the world rankings.

On Saturday there was tension about the Czech team. Due to two corona cases in the coaching team, the game against Scotland was on the edge on Monday. Now, instead of the originally designated players, a replacement team should appear.

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