France, which was already certain of a place in the Final Four of the Nations League, on Tuesday won 4-2 against Sweden in the last group match. Outgoing champion Portugal won 2-3 at Croatia.
Portugal beats ten Croatians thanks to goalkeeper blunder
Sweden took the lead early in the empty Stade de France, Viktor Claesson scored in the fifth minute after good persistence and some fortune. Before half time, France put things in order via Olivier Giroud (shot in the short corner) and Benjamin Pavard: 2-1.
Pavard’s goal was somewhat like his only other international goal, at the 2018 World Cup against Argentina. The right back scored again with a hard diagonal shot into the far corner, although his goal against Sweden was not as nice as that of two years ago.
Giroud made his second of the evening with a header after the break. It was the 44th international goal for Chelsea’s 34-year-old striker, who has only Thierry Henry (51) in France’s eternal top scorers rankings.
In the final phase, substitute Robin Quaison brought the tension back with a ticker, but via Kingsley Coman the French countered deep in injury time to 4-2. Due to the defeat, the Scandinavians are relegated to Division B of the Nations League.
Cristiano Ronaldo duels with Luka Modric in Croatia-Portugal. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Croatia narrowly defeated Sweden, despite the defeat against Portugal.
At half time, the home team led 1-0 via Mateo Kovacic, who passed goalkeeper Rui Patrico in two instances. Shortly after the restart, Croatia had to continue with ten men, Marko Rog got his second yellow card after a foul on Cristiano Ronaldo.
After that it went quickly. From the free kick that followed, Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic could not control a shot from Ronaldo, after which Ruben Dias tipped in. João Félix then gave the Portuguese the lead with a messy goal: 1-2.
Shortly thereafter, Kovacic shot his second goal of the evening from a distance (2-2). Livakovic blundered in stoppage time by letting go of the ball after a corner kick. Dias took advantage and shot in the 2-3.
In Division C, Montenegro forced promotion with a 4-0 win over Cyrpus, which sinks to the lowest division. Standard Liège striker Aleksandar Boljevic (ex-PSV) was the celebrated man in Podgorica with two hits. The game between Luxembourg and Azerbaijan yielded no winner: 0-0.