Croatia secures dramatic victory over the Netherlands, advances to the Uefa Nations League final.
Croatia came one step closer to claiming their first major title after a thrilling victory over the Netherlands in a dramatic Uefa Nations League semi-final. Substitute Bruno Petkovic’s long-range strike in extra time, followed by Luka Modric’s penalty, settled the remarkable game in Rotterdam.
The match saw a 96th-minute equalizer from the Netherlands’ Noa Lang, denying Croatia in regular time. Despite the setback, Zlatko Dalic’s team will now face either Italy or Spain in the final, while the Dutch will compete in a third-place play-off. The victory was celebrated as a historic moment for Croatia, with Dalic expressing pride in the team’s performance.
Croatia had initially taken the lead with goals from Andrej Kramaric and Mario Pasalic after an early Dutch opener by Donyell Malen. However, Lang’s late equalizer sent the game to extra time. Undeterred, Croatia rallied, and Petkovic’s impressive strike and Modric’s penalty sealed their victory. This marks Croatia’s second appearance in an international final, following their runner-up finish in the 2018 World Cup against France.
The Dutch, on the other hand, continue to endure a trophy drought that extends beyond 35 years, having not won a major title since the 1988 European Championships. The match also adds to Ronald Koeman’s challenging start as the Netherlands manager, following their earlier defeat to France in a Euro 2024 qualifier.