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Croatia stun Netherlands to reach Nations League finals

Croatia are one win from their first major title after beating hosts the Netherlands in a dramatic UEFA Nations League semi-final.


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Luka Modric sealed an extra-time win for Croatia as they upset hosts Netherlands to secure a thrilling 4-2 win in their Nations League semi-final.

Extra-time goals from Bruno Petkovic and Luka Modric saw Croatia defeat the Netherlands in their Nations League semi-final.

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Andrej Kramaric and Mario Pasalic had turned the tie after Donyell Malen’s opener before Noa Lang’s 96th-minute equalizer.

Virgil van Dijk captained the Netherlands with Cody Gakpo and Nathan Ake also starting.

However, Croatia captain Luka Modric won his 165th cap over 17 years after his international debut.

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“It’s a victory for the Croatian people, we beat the Netherlands in front of their fans, Croatia has one more medal,” Dalic told Croatia’s Nova TV afterwards. “It’s impossible, unreal, but she deserves it. Surely this is a victory which will go down in history.”

Magical Croatia’s  Modric Close to international glory

Croatia, however, controlled possession better and eight minutes after the interval, Modric – making his 165th international appearance – capitalised on a loose touch from Cody Gakpo and was brought down in the area by the Liverpool forward. Kramaric calmly slotted the penalty down the middle.

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Croatia, who came from behind to beat Canada, Japan and Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar last year, looked to have completed yet another turnaround with 18 minutes to play. Luka Ivanusec lifted in a cross which Pasalic swept in first-time from 10 yards.

The Netherlands – with former Manchester United loanee Wout Weghorst brought on as a substitute – bombarded the Croatia box in response with crosses and long balls, finding reward in the sixth minute of stoppage time as Lang cleverly struck home a loose ball.

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But this Croatia side has built its reputation on never knowing when to quit. Their approach was exemplified by Modric, who claimed his side’s fourth goal and is now within reach of historic international silverware to go with his trophy-laden club career at Real Madrid.

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Croatia will play either Spain or Italy, who face each other on Thursday at 7.45 pm, in Sunday’s final. Kick-off 7.45 pm.

The Netherlands face the loser of the other semi-final in a third-place play-off on Sunday at 2 pm.


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