Croatia reach UEFA Nations League final with extra-time win over Netherlands


The 2018 World Cup runners-up are through to another final.

Substitute Bruno Petkovic scored and won the extra-time penalty as Croatia booked their first UEFA Nations League final with a 4-2 victory over the Netherlands in Rotterdam.

The Dinamo Zagreb striker was introduced at the start of extra time – just seconds after the Dutch equalized in the sixth minute of extra time – and produced a game-changing performance.

Petkovic’s drive and shot from 25 yards put Croatia back in front before the 28-year-old, who scored an extra-time equalizer in the World Cup quarter-final against Brazil, won a penalty for Luka Modric to make it 4-2. .

A second before the final whistle, VAR also disallowed his second goal for offside.

Croatia, who reached the 2018 World Cup final after finishing third in Qatar last year, are one win away from their first major trophy, with either Spain or Italy in the way in Sunday’s final.

They had to do it the hard way, recovering from Borussia Dortmund midfielder Donyell Malen’s first-half opener by scoring with their first two shots on goal after the break.

Mario Pasalič’s goal in the 72nd minute completed the turnaround that started 17 minutes earlier with Andrej Kramarić’s penalty.

But just when it looked like they might be celebrating a place in the final, Noa Lang pounced for extra time.

After eight minutes of the extra period, Petkovic made his opening count with a goal to take the lead again.

Desperation for the Netherlands saw them send Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk forward, but their hopes ended when Manchester United defender Tyrell Malacia pulled down Petkovic and Modric sent goalkeeper Justin Bijlow the wrong way from the penalty spot.

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