Milan: European champions Portugal became the first team to qualify for the Nations League semi-finals on Saturday after holding Italy to a 0-0 draw at the San Siro.
The Portuguese, despite the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, progressed with one match to play, and are sure to finish top of Group A3, with Italy’s hopes in the tournament over.
The result means that Poland have been relegated to League B.
Roberto Mancini’s Italians needed a win to keep their hopes of advancing to the final four next June alive, but despite pushing Portugal for over an hour in front of 73,000 spectators at the San Siro, could not find a way through.
Instead, they earned a goalless draw which echoed the stalemate against Sweden a year ago that ended their hopes of reaching the World Cup in Russia.
Despite early pressure from Italy with Lorenzo Insigne and Ciro Immobile both going close, Portugal threatened after the break with William Carvalho denied by Gianluigi Donnarumma and substitute Joao Mario shooting over.
Portugal host Poland in their final Nations League game on Tuesday, with Italy playing a friendly against the United States in Genk.
Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser scored his maiden international goal as Alex McLeish’s Scotland thrashed 10-man Albania 4-0 in Shkoder on Saturday to close in on promotion from Nations League C.
The Scots will secure top spot in Group C1 and a Euro 2020 play-off place if they can beat Israel at Hampden Park on Tuesday.
Fraser scored an excellent individual goal to give the visitors a 14th-minute lead, latching onto the ball after Ryan Christie won possession, before cutting inside and curling the ball into the far corner to continue his fine form this season.
Scotland were handed a man advantage midway through the first half as Mergim Mavraj was sent off for head-butting Christie.
McLeish’s men were awarded a penalty shortly before the interval when Stuart Armstrong’s free-kick struck an arm in the Albanian wall, and Sheffield Wednesday striker Steven Fletcher stepped up to net for his country for the first time since September 2016.
Scotland made the most of the wide-open spaces available to them in the second half, with Christie sending Celtic winger James Forrest clear to loft in his first international goal 10 minutes after the restart.
Fraser turned provider in the 67th minute as his cutback was expertly flicked into the air and volleyed into the corner by Forrest.
The 27-year-old Forrest has now scored 11 goals in all competitions for club and country this term.
Earlier on Saturday, Kosovo took a big step towards reaching the qualifying play-offs for the Euros with a 5-0 thrashing of Malta.
Bernard Challandes’ side, who were only given UEFA membership in 2016, sit top in Group D3 and will secure promotion and a play-off place if they can avoid a home defeat against Azerbaijan in their final game on Tuesday.