Ryan Giggs will not have any involvement in Wales' three November matches after the manager was arrested following an assault allegation.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said Giggs, who denies any wrongdoing, agreed to step aside temporarily and allow Robert Page to take charge of the team.

Police were called on Sunday evening to an address in Worsley, Salford following reports of a disturbance. A 46-year-old man was arrested and then released on bail pending further inquiries.

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said a woman aged in her 30s had sustained "minor injuries".

Giggs "denies all allegations of assault made against him", said a representative of the former Manchester United star.

In a statement, the FAW said: "The Football Association of Wales and Ryan Giggs have mutually agreed that he will not be involved in the upcoming international camp.

"Our agreed immediate priority is preparing the team for the upcoming international matches.

"Robert Page, with Ryan’s support, will take charge for the next three matches against the USA, Republic of Ireland and Finland supported by Albert Stuivenberg."

The FAW cancelled a scheduled news conference and squad announcement that was set for Tuesday, before announcing Giggs would not be part of Wales' plans for the home games against the United States on November 12, the Republic of Ireland three days later and Finland on November 18.

The USA game is a friendly, with the others both Nations League fixtures, and the FAW said the delayed squad announcement would now come on Thursday.

Giggs is approaching three years in charge of the Wales team, having been appointed in January 2018 as successor to Chris Coleman.

Wayne Rooney has backed Dominic Calvert-Lewin to build on his impressive start with England, believing the Everton forward deserved an opportunity at international level ahead of Tammy Abraham. 

Calvert-Lewin scored 15 goals in all competitions for his club in the 2019-20 season but had to patiently wait for his chance at international level.

However, a great start to the new campaign led to a debut for the 23-year-old against Wales this month. He seized the opportunity, finding the net in a 3-0 triumph for Gareth Southgate's side at Wembley.

Abraham, meanwhile, made his England bow back in 2017, his chance coming at a time when he was still yet to break into the first-team picture at Chelsea. 

In his column for the Sunday Times, Rooney raised concerns over players based in the north having to "work harder" to get an England call-up.

On Calvert-Lewin, Rooney stated: "For England, he can become an important member of the squad and it's great seeing him finally recognised at international level. 

"I've always thought young lads from the north have to work harder to get their England opportunities than boys from the big southern clubs.  

"I felt Calvert-Lewin deserved his chance before Chelsea's Tammy Abraham."

Calvert-Lewin has scored seven times in the Premier League already this term, helping Carlo Ancelotti's Everton make the early running. 

Rooney saw the forward at close quarters when he returned for a second spell at his boyhood club and has praised the work done by coach Duncan Ferguson in Calvert-Lewin's development. 

"Dominic always had it in him and the big question mark was whether he could score consistently enough, but now that is coming through game time," Rooney continued.

"When I returned to Everton he was entering his second season with the club. I looked at him in training and thought 'he has everything'. 

"He was quick, strong, good in the air. His only downfall was he was snatching at chances but he was already working hard to correct that and Duncan Ferguson deserves a lot of credit because Duncan would always stay with him after training and give him finishing drills." 

Leeds United and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips is facing up to six weeks out with a shoulder problem. 

Phillips sustained the injury during Leeds' 1-0 defeat at home to Wolves on Monday, though he played the entire 90 minutes. 

The 24-year-old is consequently expected to be unavailable for England's Nations League games against Belgium and Iceland in November. 

A club statement read: "Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips suffered a shoulder injury in last night's Premier League defeat to Wolves at Elland Road.  

"Whilst we are pleased to confirm that surgery is not required, the Leeds born England International could still face up to six weeks on the sidelines. 

"Kalvin began his rehab at Thorp Arch this morning and will be working hard with the medical team to return to action as soon as possible."

Phillips has missed just 15 games in all competitions for Leeds since Marcelo Bielsa took over ahead of the 2018-19 season. 

They have suffered six defeats in those matches (eight victories, one draw), with their win percentage dropping to 53.3 per cent from 54.9 per cent when Phillips is in the team. 

Leeds on average score fewer goals (down to 1.5 from 1.6) and concede more (up to 1.1 from 1.0) when playing without the England midfielder.

France coach Didier Deschamps hailed "leader" Paul Pogba after a 2-1 Nations League win over Croatia on Wednesday.

Pogba came off the bench in Zagreb and his long pass led to Lucas Digne setting up Kylian Mbappe's 79th-minute winner.

Antoine Griezmann's eighth-minute opener had earlier been cancelled out by Nikola Vlasic, but France ensured they moved onto 10 points – equal with Portugal in Group A3.

Deschamps was full of praise for Manchester United midfielder Pogba, particularly for the pass that led to Mbappe's goal.

"About Pogba, of course we could talk about him being unquestionable, but we could say the same of Antoine Griezmann," Deschamps told a news conference.

"He is one of the leaders, he has this capacity to be decisive and also to be a leader in the group. He didn't start because it was wiser for him not to start, with the problem that he had.

"But yes, he is one of the most important players of the team. Even though, sometimes, it could have some hard times. But he has this strength to bring together.

"And also, he has this quality in the pre-assist. I don't take away anything from the quality of the centre of Lucas Digne, but he has this technique quality, not necessarily by dribbling as he used to do it before, but this pass is the one that triggers everything."

France will face Finland in a friendly next month before completing their Group A3 campaign against Portugal and Sweden.

Antoine Griezmann says Didier Deschamps knows exactly where to play him after the Barcelona forward played a pivotal role in France's hard-fought win over Croatia. 

Griezmann scored a superb eighth-minute goal, his third international strike of 2020, as Les Bleus prevailed 2-1 in Zagreb. 

The former Atletico Madrid player was deployed in a central position as he worked alongside Anthony Martial and Kylian Mbappe, who netted a late winner after Nikola Vlasic's equaliser.  

While he impressed for France, Griezmann has yet to find form under new Barca boss Ronald Koeman. Playing predominantly on the right flank, the 29-year-old has failed to score or even create a chance in his three LaLiga appearances in 2020-21.

However, he put any club issues to the back of his mind to help his country come out on top in the Nations League clash on Wednesday.

"The coach knows where to put me," Griezmann said of Deschamps in an interview with TF1. "I take advantage of this situation, of this place, of the confidence of the coach and my team-mates. 

"It was a complicated match, not very beautiful to see, not very beautiful to play, on a difficult ground. We knew how to suffer, the most important is to win and show that we are strong."

France's victory keeps them level on points with Group A3 leaders Portugal, the two nations having drawn 0-0 on Sunday. 

"It was difficult for everyone. We knew we were going to have a battle," Deschamps told TF1. 

"We did the right thing in the second half. This team has always had character. Just because you won a title in 2018 doesn't mean you win with a snap of your fingers.  

"If we didn't manage to score against Portugal, it's also because the opposition was good. We had great opposition today even if we had an excellent start to the match."

England manager Gareth Southgate pledged to stand by Harry Maguire after the defender was sent off during Wednesday's 1-0 Nations League defeat to Denmark.

Manchester United captain Maguire collected a pair of first-half bookings for rash challenges on Yussuf Poulsen and Kasper Dolberg to continue a miserable few weeks on and off the field.

Christian Eriksen scored the only goal for Denmark shortly afterwards, dispatching a 35th-minute penalty after Kyle Walker was harshly adjudged to have impeded Thomas Delaney.

Southgate praised England's performance with 10 men and felt they had "come through as a more resilient group" after an international break that also featured wins over Wales and Belgium.

But much of the conversation afterwards centred upon Maguire, who missed England's September internationals after being arrested while on holiday in Greece and found guilty of assault and attempted bribery.

The 27-year-old's appeal and pending retrial nullifies that conviction, but he has struggled to find solace in his football amid a ragged opening to 2020-21 with United, who lost 6-1 to Tottenham in their last Premier League outing.

"He's a top player. He's a massive part of what we do," Southgate told Sky Sports.

"He's having a period where he's having a lot of sticks thrown his way. He's big enough to come through that. He has our support and his club will be the same

"We have total belief in him. He's been getting all sorts for a while, from some people who should know better.

"None of us like to be in the centre of that sort of storm. When you're a bit older you can rationalise it and come to terms with it. He's experiencing it for the first time, although no player gets to the level he's been without having setbacks.

"His profile has changed because of the club he plays at and his success with us. He's got to keep going and the tide will turn."

Debutant Reece James also received a red card for dissent after full-time, while Walker was dismissed during England's 1-0 win over Iceland last month.

The Manchester City full-back's penalty concession was the third time England have afforded opponents a chance from 12 yards during the Nations League.

Phil Foden, Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho, Tammy Abraham and Ben Chilwell have all been missing at various stages of the Nations League campaign due to violating coronavirus protocols and Southgate conceded questions were there to be asked of the discipline in his squad.

"It's an obvious question that we're going to be asked. We've put ourselves in unnecessary situations off the field," Southgate added.

"The reds we've had - for Kyle in Iceland and Harry here - are with one of the yellows justified and the other one I'm not so certain

"We've got to learn from it because if you go to 10 men in a tournament, historically that means we're out, especially if you're doing it for an hour.

"That why I'm so pleased with the reaction of the players at the end."

Southgate also reserved praise for Chelsea full-back James, who impressed on his full England debut before erring in the aftermath of the final whistle.

"That's a lesson he's got to learn. He had an incredible debut, he's impressed me all week," he said.

"Until that moment he'd showed great maturity. It's ended up something that shouldn't have happened but for the overall week he's made a positive impression."

Diogo Jota felt under no added pressure to fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo after starring for Portugal in Wednesday's 3-0 Nations League victory over Sweden.

The Liverpool winger scored twice in the Group A3 clash at the Estadio Jose Alvalade after laying on an assist for Bernardo Silva's opening strike.

Jota was recalled by Fernando Santos for only his second start in Portugal colours, with Ronaldo absent after testing positive for coronavirus on Tuesday.

And the 23-year-old, who joined Liverpool from Wolves in a reported £45m deal last month, described the day as his best as a footballer.

"It was an excellent night, and one of my best performances for my country," he said. "We had a great result against a Sweden side that is not easy to play against, so we can be proud. 

"The coach chooses the eleven for each game. I did my best on the field. 

"There was no pressure to replace Ronaldo. We are professionals and, if the boss chooses eleven players to enter the field, these are the ones who have to work."

"I think this is my highest moment. Joining Liverpool was a big step in my career, and today I started again in the national team, I have to keep doing my best."

Portugal have won three and drawn one of their opening four Group A3 matches and lead France - 2-1 winners against Croatia in Zagreb - on goal difference.

On the back of successive 0-0 draws with Spain and France, Santos was satisfied with his side's performance against out-of-form Sweden.

"I think we controlled the game, even though I think Sweden could have scored a goal. It was not a 'top, top, top' display, but it was good.

"The result itself is excellent. As for the game, there were very good aspects and other less good things.

"We had 20 very good minutes when we controlled the match well. But we also had difficulty with Sweden's football, with long balls, aggressive play, putting four men up front."

Marcus Berg hit the post for Sweden at 1-0 and Rui Patricio was called into action three times in the second half.

Sweden boss Janne Andersson was issued a yellow card for protesting a decision that went against his side, meaning he will miss next month's game with Croatia.

"It's not good. You should not be suspended as the leader," he said. "There is nothing I am happy or proud of.

"If the referee shows yellows to the bench today, I think he will have a hard time in the rest of his career when it gets really heated."

Frank de Boer decided to change the Netherlands' system for their Nations League game against Italy after one training session because they looked like "young hyenas".

Italy won the first meeting of the Group A1 rivals in Amsterdam in September 1-0, with interim boss Dwight Lodeweges deploying a 4-2-3-1 on that occasion.

After beginning his Netherlands tenure with a surprise 1-0 loss to Mexico and a goalless draw with Bosnia-Herzegovina, De Boer switched to a 5-3-2 for the meeting in Bergamo in a bid to limit the impact of Italy's attacking full-backs.

Oranje fell behind to Lorenzo Pellegrini's goal in the 16th minute but quickly drew level when Donny van de Beek opened his international account.

Though the Netherlands were unable to find a winner, De Boer knew his team were ready for the new approach after a promising dry run.

"I wanted to play with five at the back so that my forwards didn't have to keep chasing back with their overlapping players," De Boer told NOS.

"Basically, it's just a question of looking very rationally at the opponent and working out what we can offer in return. In this case it meant sacrificing a player like Steven [Berghuis].

"I thought we had the better of the game, say 60 to 40 per cent in our favour, and that was because of our own quality.

"The critics would have been harsh [if the Netherlands lost], but in training I saw how the players chased their prey like young hyenas. I told them: 'If we show this in the game, it shouldn't be a problem.'

"But I am not satisfied with the result, because we want to be top of the group. Now we have to make sure we win the last two games."

The draw meant Poland moved top of Group A1 following a 3-0 victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina, with Italy a point behind and the Netherlands two adrift.

Oranje captain Virgil van Dijk felt the visitors should have done more with their 14 attempts on goal – twice the amount mustered by Italy.

"The coach handled it well. All credit to him for that," said Van Dijk of the change in formation.

"We knew we had to do things differently to the first game. We wanted to get a result and I think a draw here is a good performance to build on.

"We did well and worked hard but we should have got more out of the counter-attack in the second half.

"We created a lot of opportunities against a fantastic team. We could have done more."

Italy extended their unbeaten run in competitive fixtures to 16 – one shy of their all-time record set between June 1997 and June 1999.

Roberto Mancini admitted he was caught off guard by the Netherlands' tactical shift but still has designs on a place in the Nations League Finals.

"It's the first time they changed to this system and it was a surprise, but we knew it was going to be a tough game," Mancini told Rai Sport.

"Opponents are there too, they can create problems and that's what happened this evening. We attacked and I think we created the most clear-cut opportunities, overall.

"The performance was tough, it was a good game, a real battle. Now we go head-to-head with Poland for the top spot. We'll win the next two and then qualify."

Harry Kane insists England do not have a discipline issue and expects Harry Maguire to bounce back after the defender's red card against Denmark. 

Having endured a difficult time on and off the field in recent months, Maguire was dismissed in the first half of the 1-0 Nations League loss after twice seeing yellow for lunging challenges. 

England's 10 men fell behind not long after the centre-back's departure, a dubious penalty allowing Christian Eriksen to score what proved to be the only goal of the contest. 

Debutant Reece James was also sent off after the final whistle at Wembley Stadium, becoming the first England debutant to suffer the ignominy as he was punished for dissent. 

It means England have received three red cards in a single calendar year for the first time in 2020, but captain Kane dismissed any suggestion of an underlying problem within the camp. 

"I don't think we've got a discipline issue," the Tottenham striker told Sky Sports. "It was a night where we put everything on the line. 

"I can't fault the boys in that aspect. It's a team where we've worked very hard to get the fans on our side. It's down to us to keep doing that on and off the pitch, being professional and being role models. 

"The fight we showed after the sending off was a great thing to be a part of." 

Maguire had missed the previous meeting with Denmark after being found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, and attempted bribery at a misdemeanours court on the Greek island of Syros. He was granted an appeal - meaning the court's initial verdict was nullified - and is awaiting a full retrial. 

The 27-year-old has struggled at the start of the new Premier League season with Manchester United, who lost 6-1 at home to Tottenham before the international break. 

Kane, who scored twice in Spurs' stunning rout of the Red Devils at Old Trafford, was quick to offer support to his international team-mate. 

"There are a couple of challenges, of course, he'd like to have back," he said of Maguire's two bookings. 

"But it's all part of the learning curve and experience at international level. Obviously he'll be disappointed, but he will bounce back. He's had a great three or four years at the top level. 

"Football is all about working hard and I'm sure that's what he'll do." 

Romelu Lukaku paid tribute to stand-in Iceland coach Arnar Vidarsson despite a defeat to Belgium that saw them relegated from Nations League Group A2.

Lukaku scored both Belgium goals in a 2-1 away success on Wednesday, his penalty proving decisive after Birkir Mar Saevarsson had levelled for Iceland.

Hosts Iceland perhaps deserved a point after pushing for a second equaliser after half-time, subjecting the world's top-ranked side to a tense finish midweek.

Despite their demotion, Iceland's performance was made all the more remarkable by the absence of their usual coaching staff amid coronavirus measures.

With head coach Erik Hamren and his assistants in quarantine, Under-21s boss Vidarsson flew in to lead the side.

Vidarsson spent the majority of his playing career in Belgium with Lokeren and Cercle Brugge, however, also taking coaching roles with both clubs and therefore having an insight into the away team.

Lukaku told VTM: "I have to congratulate coach Vidarsson.

"He set his men up very well today. Okay, he knows us very well, but he made it a difficult match for us tonight."

Vidarsson said: "I haven't slept much and it has been an interesting 24 hours but fun.

"The game plan was well set up and us stand-ins were comfortable with following it. We are proud and the boys can be proud of themselves.

"Overall, the performance was decent, but we wanted to get the equaliser in the end."

While Iceland will finish bottom of the group, Belgium regained top spot courtesy of defeat for England – winners against Roberto Martinez's men last week – at home to Denmark.

"We are top of the group again - now it's important to make the difference in the final two games," Lukaku added.

England made unwanted history as Reece James and Harry Maguire were sent off during the Three Lions' Nations League loss against Denmark.

Disciplinary problems continue to plague Gareth Southgate's England, who have now received three red cards in a single calendar year for the first time ever, per Opta.

Kyle Walker was sent off during England's 1-0 Nations League victory over Iceland in September.

Maguire was the first player to be given his marching orders by referee Jesus Gil in Wednesday's 1-0 Group A2 defeat at Wembley, where the England and Manchester United defender accrued two rash bookings by the 31-minute mark.

Denmark star Christian Eriksen converted a penalty four minutes later, which proved the match-winner.

England's woes were compounded after full debutant and Chelsea full-back James was dismissed for dissent following the final whistle.

With the red card, James became the first player to be sent off on his first international start for England.


Hansi Flick believes Joachim Low does not deserve to be criticised despite Germany's shaky form and pointed to the lack of a natural centre-forward in the team.

Bayern Munich coach Flick previously served as Low's assistant for their 2014 World Cup win and then moved into the role of DFB sporting director.

He is therefore well placed to assess the national team, who have drawn four of their five matches in 2020, edging Ukraine in their other fixture.

Low - coach since 2006 - is under pressure as a result, but he has Flick's backing.

"Overall, I think the criticism is too harsh," Flick said ahead of Bayern's DFB-Pokal clash with Duren. "The work Jogi Low is doing is sensational.

"He is a great coach. That's why we should remain objective and try to do things together."

Despite Germany scoring three times against both Turkey and Switzerland but failing to win, Flick believes Low is clearly short in the striking department.

Miroslav Klose, Germany's record goalscorer and the World Cup's all-time leading marksman, is now Flick's assistant.

"This was already a big topic when I was sporting director and it still is a big topic: there is no real central striker in Germany," Flick said.

"Up front we have Serge Gnabry and Timo Werner, but they are far away from being a classic central striker.

"I have an amazing striker in my staff, Miro Klose. If he trains a few weeks, he should be fit to play. But I would prefer to keep him, I need him."

France edged out Croatia 2-1 thanks to Kylian Mbappe's late effort in an end-to-end Nations League encounter.

Buoyed on by a limited, albeit raucous, home crowd in Zagreb, Croatia looked well placed to push on when Nikola Vlasic cancelled out Antoine Griezmann's stunning eighth-minute opener.

Mbappe failed to convert a gilt-edged chance soon after the world champions broke the deadlock, and Croatia could have made France pay earlier if not for an excellent stop from Hugo Lloris, who was then beaten by Vlasic after the break.

Despite a superb stop from Dominik Livakovic to deny Paul Pogba, France had their winner when Lucas Digne brilliantly teed up Mbappe with 11 minutes remaining.

Griezmann drew France level in Les Bleus 4-2 triumph over Croatia in September, and it did not take long for him to open the scoring this time out as he arrowed a brilliant finish in off the woodwork.

It should have been 2-0 seven minutes later, only for Mbappe to slice wide with the goal gaping, with Anthony Martial seeing a penalty appeal turned down following a tussle with Domagoj Vida.

Mario Pasalic looked set to restore parity when he pounced on a loose ball six yards out, only for Lloris to make an outstanding save with his feet.

Vlasic drilled wide from the edge of the area eight minutes into the second half, yet the playmaker showed no such profligacy soon after when he prodded a fantastic finish across Lloris and into the left-hand corner.

Substitute Pogba made an instant impact, though, and would have restored France's lead if not for Livakovic's reactions.

However, the Manchester United man was to prove decisive, with his raking pass finding Digne, who volleyed in a cross for Mbappe to keep France level pegging with Group A3 leaders Portugal.


What does it mean? France keep pace with Portugal

While Portugal, without Cristiano Ronaldo, easily cast aside Sweden in Group A3's other match, it was an altogether more difficult task for Didier Deschamps' side on Wednesday, but the victory, which came despite them having only 47.6 per cent of the possession, keeps them right on the heels of the group leaders. Croatia, meanwhile, remain third on three points.

Griezmann a thorn in Croatia's side 

Following his opener, Griezmann has now scored three goals against Croatia for France. He has only netted more against Germany.

Injury halts superb Digne display

The first-time cross from full-back Digne for Mbappe's winner was exquisite, but the 27-year-old was also excellent defensively, making a game-high seven tackles.

However, his match came to a concerning end late on when he suffered an apparent knee injury, which will be a huge worry for Everton ahead of the Merseyside derby on Saturday.

What's next?

France play Finland in a friendly on November 11, while Croatia are due to play Turkey a day earlier.

Harry Maguire saw red as England's disciplinary problems continued in a 1-0 Nations League loss to Denmark. 

Having come from behind to beat Belgium 2-1 at the weekend, Gareth Southgate's side immediately ceded top spot in Group A2 as Christian Eriksen scored the only goal with a 35th-minute penalty. 

It was the third spot-kick England have conceded in four Nations League matches this season, by which point Maguire had already accrued two rash bookings to earn their second red card of the campaign - full debutant Reece James joining that list of ignominy after being sent off for dissent after the final whistle. 

Mason Mount came closest to an equaliser from Declan Rice's 66th-minute corner, only for Kasper Schmeichel to produce a remarkable save. 

Denmark started brightly and Kasper Dolberg had an eighth-minute attempt from Eriksen's clever low corner deflected into the side netting by Kalvin Phillips. 

England struggled to create clear openings, although Harry Kane's touch deserted him in front of goal on the end of Mount's lay-off. 

Southgate would rue that chance slipping away as his team imploded just after the half-hour mark. 

Maguire was arguably fortunate to stay on the field after his reckless early lunge on Yussuf Poulsen and referee Jesus Gil Manzano had little choice when the Manchester United captain's heavy touch led to him careering into Kasper Dolberg. 

By the time Dolberg hobbled out of the action, Eriksen had slammed home from the spot after Kyle Walker was harshly penalised for impeding Thomas Delaney. 

England's performance improved despite their reduced numbers and Schmeichel displayed incredible athleticism and reactions to deny Mount. 

The Leicester City goalkeeper was similarly sharp to tip over a rasping free-kick from James 12 minutes from time, although he needed the help of a goal-line clearance by captain and cap centurion Simon Kjaer to frustrate Conor Coady in the final minute.

What does it mean? England flaws magnified 

It seemed churlish to complain over the less impressive elements of a win over Belgium - the number one ranked team in the world - but Southgate's side once again showed plenty of room for improvement.

Even before Maguire's dismissal they carried negligible attacking threat. Despite the talent in their ranks, this is the third of four Nations League matches where they have failed to score from open play. 

Maguire misery continues 

After his holiday ordeal and court case in Greece - a matter still pending a retrial following an appeal - and a ragged start to the Premier League season with a shambling Manchester United, Maguire badly needed this international sojourn to go off without incident. It was not to be. 

His red card was, frankly, awful and he became the third England player in history to be sent off at Wembley entirely due to his own incompetence. The player who shone on the way to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, becoming a cult hero in the process, is a fast-fading memory. These are tough times for the most expensive centre-back in the world. 

Eriksen at home in familiar surroundings 

Back at a ground he called a temporary home while at Tottenham, Eriksen purred during the opening stages and helped Denmark dictate terms to a ragged England. The match-winner had more shots and attempted more key passes than any other visiting player. 

What's next 

England travel to Belgium in their penultimate group game next month, when Denmark entertain Iceland next in the Nations League.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium bounced back from a rare defeat against England on Sunday by beating Iceland 2-1 in the Nations League in Reykjavik.

The world's top-ranked side controversially lost for the first time in almost two years at Wembley to slip from the summit in Group A2, but they returned to the top of the pile with victory on Wednesday.

In the absence of Kevin De Bruyne following his injury last time out, Lukaku was predictably the star and netted either side of a Birkir Mar Saevarsson equaliser in the first half.

With England losing at home to Denmark, that brace proved enough for the Red Devils to reclaim control of the pool, surviving a slightly nervy stretch after half-time to condemn Iceland to relegation.

Lukaku quickly came to the fore and had the visitors in front after nine minutes, seizing on Hordur Magnusson's loose touch in the area and holding off Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson to slam a left-footed finish past Alex Runarsson.

But that lead lasted just eight minutes as Runar Mar Sigurjonsson's superb pass in behind Yannick Carrasco allowed Saevarsson to tuck in the equaliser.

Iceland pushed in search of a second, yet Eyjolfsson's rash lunge then saw Lukaku win a penalty for a second match running and, as against England, capitalise from 12 yards.

An entertaining first half gave way to a tense second and Belgium mustered only two attempts after the break but held on to deal Iceland a costly defeat.

What does it mean? Martinez's men made to work

Following the England game, victory was the most important measure for Roberto Martinez's side on Thursday. But having won each of their 12 prior meetings with Iceland - including two over the past two Nations League campaigns - Belgium might have expected a more straightforward success.

De Bruyne's drive was clearly missed in midfield and Iceland, typically a conservative side, would have had more than their 37 per cent of possession in the second half had they not gone direct in the closing stages.

Lukaku looks the part

Defenders simply have no answer for Lukaku right now. He has now scored six goals in his past five games for Inter and Belgium and was as dominant in Iceland as he had been in the first half in England.

As well as scoring with his only two shots and creating a further chance, the striker was involved in eight duels as he kept the home defence occupied.

Carrasco caught out

Timothy Castagne has been in fine form for Leicester City this season, but he dropped to the bench for this match, meaning Carrasco lined up as Belgium's left-sided wing-back.

Far happier in an attacking role, the Atletico Madrid man was preyed upon for Iceland's equaliser and failed to make a single tackle, clearance or interception.

What's next?

November brings another set of triple-headers. Belgium's focus will be on the return game against England but they first face Switzerland in a friendly, while Iceland have a do-or-die Euro 2020 play-off with Hungary.

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