UEFA Nations League: Croatia beat Denmark 2-1 to top Nations League group


Croatia substitute Lovro Majer scored a late goal on Thursday as the team defeated Denmark 2-1 to top Group 1 of the UEFA Nations League A. The winner fell two minutes after captain Christian Eriksen’s superb equalizer.

After beating the Danes in Copenhagen in June, the Croatians repeated the feat to record 10 points from five games, a lead over Denmark in their bid for a spot in the Nations League semi-finals, which goes to pool winners.

Croatia round off their group stage at bottom Austria, who lost 2-0 in Paris on Thursday to France, who will travel to Copenhagen on Sunday to play Denmark after losing the first leg.

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Croatia’s best chance of the first half came from a 26th-minute corner that eventually found its way to Mateo Kovacic’s head, but he failed to get his shot on target.

Eriksen came closer to Denmark in the 39th minute and unleashed a rasping shot with his left foot, forcing Dominik Livakovic to make an intelligent save that kept the game scoreless at the break.

Defender Borna Sosa, who was born in Zagreb’s Precko district and learned his trade at local club Dinamo before joining VfB Stuttgart, scored a cool strike from the edge of the box four minutes into the second half.

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Although Denmark’s attack failed for most of the evening, a magic moment from Eriksen looked set to secure a point as he put in a brilliant shot on goal in the 77th minute.

The relief was short-lived, however, as Majer, who came on for Mateo Kovacic after Eriksen’s goal, picked up the ball on the edge of the area and spun it past keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

With both teams eyeing the World Cup in Qatar, Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand has his hands full as his side were unusually lax against the 2018 World Cup finalists, although they always have a chance as long as Eriksen is fit.

Their talismanic captain, who was recovering from a near-fatal heart attack at Euro 2020 against Finland 15 months ago, almost equalized with a deflected shot but Livakovic again denied it.

That was the only ray of hope for the Danes, who will next be put to the test against a resurgent French side.

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Dutch outclass Poland to end Nations League final

Cody Gakpo struck early and Steven Bergwijn added a second to give the Netherlands a 2-0 away win over Poland on Thursday and bring them within a point of winning the Nations League group.

The unbeaten Dutch have now won four of their five Group A games in League A and are three points clear of Belgium, who beat Wales 2-1.

The Dutch only need a draw at home to Belgium in Amsterdam on Sunday to secure a place in next year’s Nations League finals.

Gakpo’s 13th-minute opener at the Narodowy Stadium came at the end of a skillful passing game as the striker had only to tap Denzel Dumfries’ inch-perfect square pass home after the Polish defense was torn apart.

Bergwijn doubled the lead in the 60th minute, came from the left, played a clever one-two with substitute Vincent Janssen and flicked the ball skillfully into the net.

The Dutch deserved the win, as their high pressure regularly robbed Poland of possession and allowed the visitors to dictate the pace of play.

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But things would have been different had Poland’s half-time substitute Arkadiusz Milik not missed from close range following a Przemyslaw Frankowski cross shortly after his substitution.

It was Poland’s only clear chance but Milik inexplicably went all out to help the Netherlands concede their first goal in seven games of the year.

Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal surprised by the choice of 38-year-old Ajax Amsterdam goalkeeper Remko Pasveer, making him the country’s second-oldest debutant after Sander Boschker, who was almost 40 when he won his only cap in goal against Ghana completed in a World Cup opener. up friendly in 2010.

Van Gaal told Dutch TV before kick-off he was “excited” to see what Pasveer could add to the team after a good start to the season at Ajax Amsterdam, but there wasn’t much for the keeper to do.

Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk said Poland had been a difficult opponent.

“We played well and it was a deserved win,” he said.



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