Home Football Croatia Triumphs Over Netherlands 4-2: Zlatko Dalic’s Squad Clinches Spot in Nations League Final After Electrifying Extra-Time

Croatia Triumphs Over Netherlands 4-2: Zlatko Dalic’s Squad Clinches Spot in Nations League Final After Electrifying Extra-Time

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UEFA Nations League Semi-Final

Andrej Kramaric secures Croatia’s comeback with his 24th international goal from a penalty.

Croatia stands on the brink of securing their first significant championship following a nail-biting Uefa Nations League semi-final win against the host nation, the Netherlands.

In the extra time, substitute Bruno Petkovic rocketed a long-range goal, after which a penalty from Luka Modric sealed the fate of this astounding game in Rotterdam.

A 96th-minute equalizer from Noa Lang of the Netherlands had previously thwarted Croatia’s hopes during regulation time.

Now, Dalic’s team is set to battle against Italy or Spain in the final on Sunday, while the Dutch will compete for third place.

“This triumph belongs to the Croatian people. We defeated the Netherlands on their home ground, earning Croatia an additional medal,” Dalic expressed to Nova TV of Croatia after the game.

“It feels surreal, almost impossible, but the team is worthy of this. This victory will undoubtedly be etched in our history.”

Croatia’s entry into the finals appeared certain when Kramaric’s penalty and Mario Pasalic’s volley gave them the lead following Donyell Malen’s initial goal.

However, a last-minute dramatic goal from Lang equalized the score at 2-2.

Undeterred, Croatia, led by Petkovic who was brought in at the commencement of extra time, took the lead again as he sent a spectacular shot past Dutch goalkeeper Justin Bijlow.

The crowning moment came when 37-year-old Modric sealed the victory with a penalty four minutes before the end, following a reckless challenge by Tyrell Malacia.

This marks Croatia’s second appearance in an international final, the first being their loss to France in the 2018 World Cup with a 4-2 score.

“We’ve bagged bronze and silver, now it’s time to aim for the gold to complete this journey,” Dalic added.

For the Netherlands, their hunt for an international title persists for over 35 years, with their last major win being the 1988 European Championship.

This also marks another setback for Ronald Koeman, in his second term as the Netherlands manager, after a 4-0 loss to France in the Euro 2024 qualifier in March.

Luka Modric, on His Path to International Fame
Modric was playing his 165th game for Croatia

With players such as Nathan Ake, Denzel Dumfries, and Marcelo Brozovic having competed in the Champions League final just four days prior, both teams grappled to hit their stride initially.

By the end, spectators at De Kuip were treated to a breathless showdown.

Cheered on by a vibrant and energetic crowd, the Dutch drew first blood with Malen scoring at the 34-minute mark.

Croatia’s domination in possession paid off eight minutes after halftime, when Modric, in his 165th international outing, capitalized on Cody Gakpo’s laxity to earn a penalty. Kramaric coolly converted it.

The Croatian team, having overturned deficits against Canada, Japan, and Brazil at the previous year’s World Cup in Qatar, replicated the feat with just 18 minutes left. A cross from Luka Ivanusec was met by a Pasalic volley that found the net.

Despite facing a barrage of crosses and long balls from the Netherlands, Croatia remained resilient, their fortitude rewarded in the extra time. Modric’s fourth goal encapsulated this spirit, putting him tantalizingly close to a historic international victory to supplement his illustrious club career at Real Madrid.

Match Stats

Teams: Netherlands (Home) Vs Croatia (Away)
Possession: Netherlands 46% – Croatia 54%
Shots: Netherlands 14 – Croatia 14
Shots on Target: Netherlands 6 – Croatia 5
Corners: Netherlands 4 – Croatia 8
Fouls: Netherlands 25 – Croatia 13

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UEFA Nations League Semi-Final

Who scored the goals for Croatia in the UEFA Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands?

Andrej Kramaric scored from the penalty spot during regulation time. Bruno Petkovic and Luka Modric both scored in extra time, Petkovic from a distance and Modric from a penalty.

Who scored for the Netherlands in the same match?

Donyell Malen scored the opening goal for the Netherlands and Noa Lang equalised in the 96th minute to force the match into extra time.

Who was the man of the match in this game?

The text does not provide a specific man of the match for this game.

Where and when will Croatia play their final match in the UEFA Nations League?

Croatia will play their final match on the following Sunday after the semi-final. The text does not provide a specific location for the final match.

Who will the Netherlands be playing next after their loss to Croatia?

The Netherlands will face either Italy or Spain in the third-place play-off match after their loss to Croatia.

What significant achievement could Croatia attain by winning the final?

Croatia could secure their first major international title by winning the UEFA Nations League final.

More about UEFA Nations League Semi-Final

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OrangeForever June 15, 2023 - 8:15 am

Ugh, tough loss for us… But the boys fought hard. We’ll be back stronger next time!

NeutralFan22 June 15, 2023 - 9:48 am

Both teams played well. This game had everything, goals, drama, penalties. Football at its best!

FootyFan101 June 15, 2023 - 12:29 pm

Wow, what a match! congrats to Croatia. The dutch really pushed em though, great effort.

SoccerLover24 June 15, 2023 - 5:52 pm

modric is just a legend! 165th cap and still running the show. Go Croatia!!

BalkanEagle June 15, 2023 - 9:22 pm

Petkovic’s strike in extra time… what a belter! almost broke the net!

GoalHunter June 16, 2023 - 3:46 am

That equaliser from Lang was crazy! Thought we were heading to penalties for sure.

ModricFan1 June 16, 2023 - 5:47 am

Luka still got it, what a performance! inspiring for the young guns. The man’s a class apart!


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