A brilliant win in Netherlands was enough to ensure Croatia continued their impressive run in international tournaments.
Croatia defeated Netherlands 4-2 in the UEFA Nations League semi-finals on Wednesday. A fantastic comeback sent the Checkered Ones to the tournament’s final.
A six-goal thriller!
Both sides pushed for early breakthroughs to no avail, but it was the hosts who gradually established their dominance over the game.
The Oranje’s efforts paid off when Donyell Malen put them ahead with a precise low shot in the 34th minute. The goal forced the visitors to push forward for the equalizer, but Netherlands repelled all the attacks before the break.
The course of the game changed, however, when the second period started. Croatia came back into the game by finding the equalizer through Andrej Kramaric’s penalty.
Netherlands pushed hard to restore their lead, but Croatia left them stunned by completing their comeback in the 72nd minute. Following a brilliant assist from Luka Ivanusec, Mario Pasalic made it 2-1 for the visitors.
The two sides made a total of eight changes to their squads in the final ten minutes. But it was eventually Netherlands who managed to come back into the game in the final minute of the added time.
Noa Lang smashed a poorly-cleared corner into the roof of the net to make it 2-2, reviving Netherlands’ hopes of reaching the final.
But it didn’t take Croatia too long to restore their lead. The hosts seemed exhausted, giving away too many chances inside their own half.
Bruno Petkovic then completed his brilliant performance by putting Croatia ahead in the 98th minute. Following an assist from Luka Modric, the Dinamo Zagreb star unleashed an unstoppable low shot behind the box, beating Justin Bijlow on the left post.
Netherlands tried to get back into the game once again, but Modric killed the game off by converting a penalty in the 116th minute.
The Checkered Ones will meet the winners of Spain’s upcoming match against Italy in the UEFA Nations League final on Sunday.