Spain v Portugal, Northern Ireland v Greece: Nations League – live! | Nations League


28 min: That was one hell of a goal … and it was Spain’s first shot on target. Gavi is going to be a very special player. It wasn’t half bad movement from Morata and Sarabia, either.

GOAL! Spain 1-0 Portugal (Morata 25)

… so having said that, Spain score from a gorgeous counter attack at speed! Gavi wriggles away from a Bernardo Silva lunge to the left of the center circle. He storms down the flank and cuts infield, rolling a diagonal pass towards Morata, bombing down the middle. Morata leaves the ball for Sarabia to his right. Sarabia rolls it back to Morata, who slots home from ten yards. What a move! What a talent Gavi is!

24 min: A lot of frowning and performative gurning on the pitch, though, as pass after pass fails to find its target. It’s almost as though most of these players are knackered after non-stop football for the last couple of strange years, and could do with a proper break.

21 min: A shot of Ronaldo in the Portugal dugout. To be fair to him, he’s not sitting there with a face on. He’ll be dreaming about coming on and adding to those 115 international goals, I’ll be bound.

18 min: Jordi Alba floats a chip into the Portugal area. It’s claimed easily by Diogo Costa, who bowls out long to Bernardo Silva. Portugal press Spain back, and Guerreiro works some space out on the left. He rolls infield for Leão, who really should do better from ten yards than to lean back and blaze over. He should have worked Unai Simon in the Spain goal at the very least.

15 min: It’s gone a little flat meanwhile in Seville, as both teams probe gingerly. Nobody yet of a mind to take a risk.

GOAL! Czech Republic 1-0 Switzerland (Kuchta 11). In the other Group A2 game, being played at Slavia Prague’s Sinobo Stadium, Jan Kuchta has given the Czechs the lead.

Jan Kuchta puts the Czech Republic ahead against Switzerland. Photograph: Lukáš Kaboň / EPA

11 min: Portugal start pinging it around a bit. The home crowd keep the volume up.

9 min: Andre Silva makes good ground down the right wing and is cynically brought to a halt by Busquets. No yellow card, though you’ve seen them given. You’ve seen them not given to Busquets, too, so here we are.

Photograph: Soccrates Images / Getty Images

8 min: Portugal enjoy a bit of possession for the first time in the game. They don’t really go anywhere, but that’s not the point, as they find their feet and slow the hosts down.

6 min: Sarabia strides down the left and slips a cute ball infield for Gavi, who is storming down the channel in the plenty of space. Just as he reaches the area, Gavi loses the run of his legs and trips over them in the frantic style. A promising situation for Spain goes to waste.

4 min: Portuguese hearts in mouths as Azpilicueta takes a shot that’s blocked. The ball pings to Gavi, who nearly buries a shot from the edge of the box. It’s deflected inches wide right, then at the corner Portugal keeper Diogo Costa flaps hysterically. He’s fortunate to get a second chance to claim the ball.

2 min: Azpilicueta and Morata try to combine crisply down the right, but Pepe is having none of it. He snaffles possession and clears up.

Portugal get the game underway in Seville. A rare old atmosphere as you’d imagine.

The teams are out! We’ll be off in a minute or two, with Spain-Portugal very much front and center of this blog. “The Spain team’s official Tweet is a bit overenthusiastic (EQUIPAZO!) But fair enough, a bit of oomph before you start never goes amiss (until later maybe). But the eye-catching thing is our old friends Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets still being in the team. Combined age probably in three figures. Perhaps there is hope for us all yet, ”writes Charles Antaki, 99.

Old man Busquets and Joao Moutinho shake hands prior to kick off.
Old man Busquets and Joao Moutinho shake hands prior to kick off. Photograph: Ángel Martínez / UEFA / Getty Images

Spain and Portugal are facing off at Real Betis’ Estadio Benito Villamarín. Luis Enrique has gone for Valencia’s Carlos Soler in midfield ahead of Atletico Madrid’s Koke, but the big news is made by Portugal coach Fernando Santos, who has decided to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench, with André Silva spearheading the attack instead. João Moutinho gets a go on the captain’s armband as a result.

The 21-year-old Fleetwood winger Paddy Lane starts at left wing-back for Northern Ireland tonight, as they begin their Nations League campaign at home to Euro 2004 winners Greece. Liverpool’s Conor Bradley, who turns 19 next week, lines up on the opposite flank, with 34-year-old Leicester stalwart Jonny Evans in the middle. Kyle Lafferty, fresh from winning promotion with Kilmarnock, is back in the squad for the first time since last September, and starts on the subs bench.

Bradley will be coming face to face with his Liverpool team-mate, left-back Kostas Tsimikas. Celtic striker Giorgos Giakoumakis leads the line up front, while Sheffield United’s George Baldock, who qualifies for Greece through his grandmother, is on the bench and hoping to make his international debut.

The teams from Seville


👥 Esta es la alineación que ha dispuesto @LUISENRIQUE21 para el debut de la @SeFutbol en esta edición de la #NationsLeague ante @selecaoportugal en Sevilla.


— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) June 2, 2022


📂 O nosso primeiro 𝐗𝐈 para esta #NationsLeague! #VamosComTudo #TeamPortugal

— Portugal (@selecaoportugal) June 2, 2022


The teams from Windsor Park

📣 Tonight's team news is in! 🙌 #GAWA #NorthernIreland

— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) June 2, 2022


STARTING XI 🔵⚪️#matchday Ελλάδα vs Β. Ιρλανδία #NIRGRE

— Ethniki Omada (@EthnikiOmada) June 2, 2022


The 5pm full times

… and we’ve already had a spot of high drama this evening. With eight seconds of four extra minutes to play between Bulgaria and North Macedonia in Razgrad, with the score 1-1, the referee awarded the hosts a penalty when Martin Minchev’s speculative shot hit Visar Musliu on the elbow. VAR got involved, though, and upon second viewing the ref decided Musliu’s elbow was right by the side of his body, while there was little distance between the two players and therefore no time to react. No penalty, and Bulgaria end the evening with smoke pouring out of the old lugs.

Cyprus 0-2 Kosovo

Bulgaria 1-1 North Macedonia
Georgia 4-0 Gibraltar

Estonia 2-0 San Marino


Football, having barely stopped for the last two years, keeps on keepin ‘on. Just when we thought the players could scoot off for a well-deserved summer holiday – long lie-ins, sunbeds by the pool, tinnies, the whole shebang – here comes the Nations League! Tonight’s big game is the Iberian showdown between Spain and Portugal, though we’ll also keep an eye on Northern Ireland versus Greece, plus all the other 7.45pm BST kick-offs.

There were a few 5pm BST kick-offs as well, and they’ll be finishing in a minute. More on them anon. But in the meantime, here’s tonight’s full card (all times BST):

Czech Republic v Switzerland (7.45pm)
Spain v Portugal (7.45pm)

Albania v Russia (P)
Israel v Iceland (7.45pm)

Serbia v Norway (7.45pm)
Slovenia v Sweden (7.45pm)

Cyprus v Kosovo (5pm)
Northern Ireland v Greece (7.45pm)

Bulgaria v North Macedonia (5pm)
Georgia v Gibraltar (5pm)

Estonia v San Marino (5 pm)

All the news and more as we have it. The 2022-23 Nations League: it’s on!




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