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Update Nations League: Italy, Belgium advance to star-filled finals
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[Image: italy-1605754741.jpg]

Italy earned the right to host a star-filled Nations League finals that will feature the current No. 1-ranked team and three of the past four World Cup champions.

Italy’s 2-0 win at Bosnia-Herzegovina on Wednesday sealed top spot in Group 1 above the Netherlands, which beat Poland 2-1. That group winner had been pre-selected to host the Final Four next October.

Top-ranked Belgium also booked its place in that knockout bracket, lifted by Romelu Lukaku's 56th and 57th international goals in a 4-2 win over Denmark.

Italy earned the right to host a star-filled Nations League finals that will feature the current No. 1-ranked team and three of the past four World Cup champions.

Italy’s 2-0 win at Bosnia-Herzegovina on Wednesday sealed top spot in Group 1 above the Netherlands, which beat Poland 2-1. That group winner had been pre-selected to host the Final Four next October.

Top-ranked Belgium also booked its place in that knockout bracket, lifted by Romelu Lukaku's 56th and 57th international goals in a 4-2 win over Denmark.

Belgium and Italy join Spain and France, who topped groups that finished Tuesday. That means the tournament will feature the winners of the World Cup in 2006, 2010 and 2018.

A total of 18 Nations League games were played Wednesday to complete a difficult 2020 program for Europe’s 55 national teams amid a spike in the coronavirus pandemic.

A swath of players and team staff tested positive for for COVID-19 during this international break, including Italy coach Roberto Mancini was was absent in Sarajevo.

“I think the lads have given a great gift to Mancini," assistant coach Alberico Evani said. “We look forward to facing the best teams in Europe in the finals.”

The games also resolved promotion and relegation issues in the four-tier Nations League.

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