Croatia, Netherlands line up in next June’s UEFA Nations League finals

PARIS: Croatia and the Netherlands have become the first sides to book their place in the 2023 UEFA Nations League final four.

The Netherlands qualified for the Nations League finals as Virgil van Dijk’s header secured victory over Belgium at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

Louis van Gaal’s side needed to avoid defeat by three goals against second-placed Belgium, whom they beat 4-1 in the reverse fixture in June.

But they made certain of their progress when Liverpool defender Van Dijk met Cody Gakpo’s corner after 73 minutes.

The Dutch ended their group campaign unbeaten, six points clear of Belgium.

Croatia were made to work hard, on the other hand, despite Luka Modrić’s early opener away to Austria. Christoph Baumgartner levelled for the hosts, and it took goals from Marko Livaja and Dejan Lovren to seal a 3-1 win and keep Group A1 rivals Denmark at bay.

The semifinals will be played on 14 and 15 June 2023, with the final and third-place play-off to follow on 18 June.

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