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Croatia make final four of Nations League after beating Austria 

Croatia has finished top of UEFA Nations League – League A – Group 1  to earn a place in the final four after a 3-1 victory against Austria in Vienna on Sunday night. 

Needing a win after Denmark beat France 2-0, Zlatko Dalić’s side turned on an impressive second half performance to top the group and make the final four of the Nations League for the first time.  

Croatia took the lead at the Ernst Happel Stadium in just the 6th minute when Nikola Vlašić went on a run down the right and squared the ball back to captain Luka Modrić who beat his man before slotting into the bottom left corner to make it 1-0. 

The lead was short-lived when just three minutes later Christoph Baumgartner levelled the scores when he glanced his header from a cross from the right past Dominik Livaković. 

In the 18th minute there was a blow for Zlatko Dalić when Marcelo Brozović was forced off the field with what looked like a hamstring injury. 

His absence in the defensive midfield role was felt as the home side began to take control of the match and create chances. Marko Arnautović went closest but a fine one-handed save from Livaković denied the Bologna striker. 

After absorbing some pressure, Croatia were happy to go into the break with the score levels.

Croatia looked more composed at the start of the second half and they started to look more dangerous. 

Zlatko Dalić introduced Marko Livaja and Borna Sosa as he looked for a breakthrough and it would not take long when Sosa laid on a pass for Ivan Perišić and his cross was headed home by Livaja to make it 2-1.

Moments later Croatia stretched their lead when after short corner Lovro Majer crossed to an unmarked Dejan Lovren and he would head home to ensure victory.

“We played well overall. We started good and then conceded a goal. They were then better for a period and thankfully they didn’t score from their chances. We improved, scored twice and we were the better team and deserved the win in the end and to be in the final four. It is a nice success for Croatian football,” said Modrić after the win, before adding.

“We achieved what we wanted and now the World Cup is ahead of us. If we continue like this we will be dangerous for everyone at the World Cup.”

Coach Zlatko Dalić added: “This was a big result, it was a tough game. Was a battle but congratulations and thanks to the guys and the fans. To play away and have 25,000 fans is amazing. In 15 games since the Euros (in 2021), Croatia has only lost one game and I am proud of that.”

 

Croatia make final four of Nations League after win over Austria 

The semi-finals and final of the Nations League will be played next June in Amsterdam. The winners of the Nations League receive 14 million euros. 

Croatia’s next match, and only warm-up before the World Cup starts, will be against Saudi Arabia on 16 November

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