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Nations League draw: England-Netherlands, Portugal-Switzerland

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England, Portugal, Switzerland, and the Netherlands know their next obstacle on the path to becoming the first UEFA Nations League champion.

Portugal drew Switzerland, meaning the Netherlands will meet England in the semifinals in Portugal.

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The Dutch and Three Lions have met 21 times, including three World Cups and two European championships.

As for Portugal, the EURO champs will host the Swiss on June 5, with the second semifinal the next day.

The third place game and final played on June 9.

Portugal unaware of joint World Cup bid with Spain, Morocco

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) A Portuguese official says Spain has made no approach about the possibility of presenting a three-way bid to host the 2030 World Cup with Morocco.

Education Minister Tiago Brandao Rodrigues, who oversees sports, says he has “no formal knowledge of any official announcement about a three-way bid.”

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He also says he believes FIFA does not allow joint bids from separate confederations – in this case, UEFA and the Confederation of African Football.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez supposedly conveyed the bid offer to Moroccan counterpart Saad Eddine El Othmani during a brief visit to the north African country.

Bids to host the 2030 World Cup are being considered by countries in South America and England.

Spain wants 2030 World Cup bid with Morocco and Portugal

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MADRID (AP) Spain wants Morocco to join a three-country bid with Portugal to host the 2030 World Cup.

A government spokeswoman says Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez conveyed the offer to Moroccan counterpart Saad Eddine El Othmani during a brief visit to the north African country. The spokeswoman, as is custom, spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

There was no immediate response from the government in Rabat.

According to Spanish media, a World Cup bid spanning two continents had been floated in September when Sanchez met in Madrid with FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

South American soccer leaders are already promoting a three-way centenary bid by Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay. Uruguay hosted the first World Cup in 1930. There is already European interest from England, which is exploring bidding with its neighbors.

Spain hosted the 1982 World Cup and bid with Portugal for the 2018 competition, which went to Russia.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

UEFA Nations League: Portugal win group with Italy draw

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in the UEFA Nations League…

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Italy 0-0 Portugal

Portugal were without Cristiano Ronaldo, but it didn’t matter as the reigning European champions blunted Italy and held on for a scoreless draw away from home to secure top spot in League A Group 3.

With Ronaldo taking a break from the national team, Portugal managed to win their first two games — one each against Italy and Poland — to arrive at seven points with one game against the last-place and already-relegated Poles remaining.

Turkey 0-1 Sweden

Andreas Granqvist scored the game’s only goal, from the penalty spot, to send Sweden second in League B Group 2 and set up a final-day showdown with Russia for the top spot in the three-team group to secure promotion to League A.

The two sides drew 0-0 in their first meeting, in Russia, last month. A win would send Sweden into the top flight, while a loss or draw would see the Russians battle Europe’s elites next time around.

Albania 0-4 Scotland

Likewise, Scotland put themselves in prime position to win promotion to League B with an emphatic victory over Albania. The Scots’ final-day clash with Israel — the nations are level on six points — will determine the winners of Group C League 1.

Because Israel won the first matchup, they would take the tiebreaker in event of a draw next week.

Elsewhere in UEFA Nations League

League C Group 4

Serbia 2-1 Montenegro
Romania 3-0 Lithuania

League D Group 3

Malta 0-5 Kosovo
Azerbaijan 2-0 Faroe Islands

Sunday’s UEFA Nations League schedule

League A Group 2

Switzerland vs. Belgium — 2:45 p.m. ET

League A Group 4

England vs. Croatia — 9 a.m. ET

League B Group 3

Northern Ireland vs. Austria — 12 p.m. ET

League C Group 2

Hungary vs. Finland — 2:45 p.m. ET
Greece vs. Estonia — 2:45 p.m. ET

League D Group 2

San Marino vs. Belarus — 12 p.m. ET
Moldova vs. Luxembourg — 12 p.m. ET

UEFA Nations League preview: Last chance to dance

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The path to Portugal or Italy concludes this week with the final group matches of the inaugural UEFA Nations League.

We’ll begin with Group A3, where only Poland has been eliminated from qualification for the final. The hosts for the finals will come out of this group, and Portugal has a two-point lead heading into its final two matches.

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Italy only has one, and has to hope it beats Portugal at the San Siro on Saturday and hope Portugal fails to beat Poland three days later. Portugal has done it all without Cristiano Ronaldo, and won’t have the Juventus striker for these two matches.

World Cup champions France lead Group A1 and can clinch a spot in the finals by not losing to the Netherlands on Friday. Should the Dutch win in Rotterdam, they can pass the French with a defeat of Germany or a draw in Gelsenkirchen coupled with tiebreaker help.

Group A2 looks increasingly likely to go to Belgium. The Red Devils and Switzerland both have six points. They cannot advance simply by beating Iceland on Thursday, but a win or draw would mean needing just a draw or Sunday in Switzerland.

Spain is the favorite for the fourth semifinal spot, though no one in Group 4 has been eliminated from contention. Croatia can advance by beating Spain in Zagreb on Thursday and getting a scoring draw or better in England on Sunday.

Spain is through with a win over Croatia, but opens the door for England with a draw or loss. England has a number of scenarios that work for them, but the easiest involves Spain losing in Croatia and England beating Croatia at Wembley on Sunday.

The Nations League semifinals are June 5 and 6, with the final and third-place match on June 9.

League B has only promoted one team to League A so far (Ukraine). Still alive are Russia, Turkey, Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Wales, and Denmark.