Croatia secured a thrilling 4-2 victory over the Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League semi-final on Wednesday evening.
They secured their place in the final thanks to a long-range strike by substitute Bruno Petkovic in extra time, followed by Luka Modric’s successful penalty kick in a remarkable game held in Rotterdam.
The match was full of twists and turns, with a 96th-minute equalizer from the Netherlands’ Noa Lang denying Croatia victory in regular time. Initially, Croatia took the lead with goals from Andrej Kramaric’s penalty and Mario Pasalic’s volley, turning the tide after Donyell Malen opened the scoring for the Dutch team. However, Lang’s late goal levelled the game at 2-2, forcing extra time.
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Nevertheless, Croatia displayed resilience and determination. Petkovic, who entered the match at the start of extra time, unleashed a powerful strike that beat Netherlands’ goalkeeper Justin Bijlow, putting Croatia in the lead once again.
Their victory was sealed when 37-year-old star player Modric converted a penalty kick four minutes before the end, capitalizing on a clumsy challenge from Tyrell Malacia.
With this win, Croatia advance to only their second international final, the previous one being the 2018 World Cup. They now await the outcome of the match between Italy and Spain to know their final opponent.