Peter Pekarík.
First team | October 8, 2021, 09:37 AM

Bitter semi-final exit and must-win games

Dedryck Boyata and the Belgian national team have had their hopes of winning the UEFA Nations League title dashed. The ‘Red Devils’ lost 3-2 in dramatic fashion against France on Thursday evening. Carrasco (37’) and Lukaku (41’) had put Belgium two goals to the good, but the World Champions from 2018 hit back after the break through Benzema (62’), Mbappé (69’, pen.) and Theo Hernández (90’). Boyata and Dodi Lukébakio (on loan at Wolfsburg) watched the 90 minutes from the bench, as did former Hertha player Mattéo Guendouzi for France. The European Championships quarter finalists will now play against Italy on Sunday (15:00 CEST), the team that knocked them out of the Euros in the last eight just a few months ago. Neither Christalino Atemona nor Marcel Lotka came on for the Germany and Poland U20s respectively as they drew 0-0 in a friendly.

Clear objectives

Meanwhile, in this international break a trio of Hertha players are fully focused on the Qatar World Cup in 2022. In matchdays seven and eight, Peter Pekarík and Slovakia will play against Russia then Croatia in Group H. “We understand the situation we’re in. If we still want to be in with a chance in November we need to get something out of these two tough matches. We will give our all for 180 minutes to be successful,” said our number two. Both opponents are four points ahead of Slovakia who sit third in the group. Stevan Jovetić and Montenegro also need six points against Gibraltar and Norway (who are without Rune Jarstein) in Group G. They are fourth in the group, three points behind Turkey in third and five behind the Netherlands and Norway who occupy the top two positions – a gap that cannot be allowed to increase.

In Group I, Krzysztof Piątek and the Polish national side are in third place, five points behind leaders England and one behind Albania. After playing San Marino at home, they face a critical fixture against the Albanians. “I’m really happy to be back with the national side after so long out injured. It’s important that we win both games and hopefully I can help the team,” said the attacker ahead of the upcoming challenges.

U21 Euros the aim

Jurgen Ekkelenkamp is in the Netherlands U21 squad for qualifying games for the European Championships in Romania and Georgia in 2023. Their opponents are Switzerland and Wales.

Date Kick-off (CEST) Player Game (venue) Result
Thu, 07.10.2021   Marcel Lotka, Christalino Atemona U20s friendly Poland - Germany (Rzeszow) 0-0
  20:45 Dedryck Boyata Nations League semi-final Belgium - France (Turin) 2-3
Fri, 08.10.2021 19:00  Jurgen Ekkelenkamp U21 EUROs qualifier Switzerland - Netherlands (Lausanne)  
  20:45 Stevan Jovetić WCQ Gibraltar - Montenegro (Gibraltar)  
  20:45  Peter Pekarík WCQ Russia - Slovakia (Kazan)  
Sat, 09.10.2021 20:45 Krzysztof Piątek WCQ Poland - San Marino (Warsaw)  
Sun, 10.10.2021 Dedryck Boyata Nations League finals  
Mon, 11.10.2021 15:00 Marcel Lotka U20s friendly Norway - Poland (Oslo)  
  15:00  Christalino Atemona U20s friendly Germany - Romania (Babelsberg)  
  20:45  Peter Pekarík WCQ Croatia - Slovakia (Osijek)  
  20:45 Stevan Jovetić WCQ Norway - Montenegro (Oslo)  
Tue, 12.10.2021 20:00  Jurgen Ekkelenkamp U21 EUROs qualifier Netherlands - Wales (Nijmegen)  
  20:45  Krzysztof Piątek WCQ Albania - Poland (Tirana)