The UEFA Nations League did not disappoint in its final round of fixtures before national teams across the continent ramp up their final preparations before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar this winter, with plenty of impressive performances to call upon across all levels of the competition.
Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrović headlined the international break with four goals for Serbia - who went on to top their group - while also becoming his nation’s first-ever player to reach the 50-goal milestone in just 76 appearances.
Italy blanked both England and Hungary to secure the top spot in a very difficult Group A3 on the back of strong performances from Gianluigi Donnarumma and Giacomo Raspadori, while Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk was at the center of a pair of clean sheets for the Netherlands that has potentially announced their return to international prominence ahead of the World Cup.
Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Borussia Dortmund were also represented well at the national team level, and though England suffered relegation to Nations League B, Jude Bellingham produced a pair of displays that should have done enough to prove to Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate that he should be a key figure for his country in the coming years.
Here, in full, is 101 Great Goals’ UEFA Nations League Team of the Round for September 21-27.
GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy)
The Italian shot-stopper had come under criticism in recent months for performances at club level and for the national team, but this current Nations League break saw him keep two clean sheets against England and Hungary, including heroics last night to secure the group.
RB: Diogo Dalot (Portugal)
Though he was expectedly dropped against Spain in favor of right-back sensation João Cancelo, Diogo Dalot bagged a brace in Portugal’s 4-0 thrashing of the Czech Republic which should guarantee his place in the squad for the 2022 World Cup.
RCB: Manuel Akanji (Switzerland)
Akanji has restored his reputation in Europe already this season after initial strong performances for Manchester City have been followed up for Switzerland with a fantastic display against Spain as he continues to move past a frustrating period at Borussia Dortmund.
LCB: Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands)
Two clean sheets for the Netherlands saw the re-emerging European power top their Nations League group during final preparations for the 2022 World Cup, with Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk performing admirably across both wins in the heart of the back three.
LB: Nicusor Bancu (Romania)
Romania’s fall from grace on the international stage continues as they will now ply their trade in Nations League C after finishing bottom of their group, but 30-year-old Nicursor Bancu enjoyed three assists across two appearances against Finland and Bosnia & Herzegovina in a credible pair of outings.
CM: Luka Modrić (Croatia)
The bulk of the current Croatian national team may be beginning to show some of its age and over-reliance on certain individuals of late, but Luka Modrić remains at the tip of the spear for his country in the same vein as he does for Real Madrid, and his performances have shown that Croatia is still a credible force under his central guidance.
CM: Christian Eriksen (Denmark)
There were many who felt that Christian Eriksen may not ever play football again after nearly losing his life at Euro 2020, but the Danish star has not only revitalized himself at club level at Brentford and now Manchester United, but he’s back at his influential best for Denmark.
CM: Jude Bellingham (England)
England’s relegation to Nations League B is a stain on the national team’s record in the run-up to Qatar, but Jude Bellingham was the leading light for the Three Lions which included a sensational man of the match performance against Germany.
RF: Benjamin Šeško (Slovenia)
A star in the making, the 19-year-old Slovenian international was amongst the goals during the international break with a goal and an assist against Norway and then a wonder strike against Sweden. His impending move to RB Leipzig continues to look justified.
CF: Aleksandar Mitrović (Serbia)
Four goals - including a hat-trick against Sweden - saw the Fulham center-forward continue his hot run of form in 2022-23 for club and country and booked Serbia promotion into Nations League A while becoming his nation’s first-ever player to hit the 50-goal milestone.
LF: Giacomo Raspadori (Italy)
On loan at SSC Napoli this season, the 22-year-old striker came into the break with two goals in his last three appearances in Serie A and carried that form over for Italy with a goal in each of the nations’ two wins, including a belter against England.