Nations League: Portugal, Spain share spoils, Danish Bonanza, Rangnick’s dream debut

Portugal and Spain share spoils in an exciting 1-1 draw in Seville

The points were shared after a 1-1 draw between the two heavyweights, Spain and Portugal, in Seville. The game started slowly as both sides pressed high up the pitch and tried to dominate the possession. But as expected, Spain dominated the possession and had several chances to win the game.

The hosts struggled with the early pressure from Portugal and gave away possession quite quickly, which led to some good chances for the away side in the opening 20 minutes. Both sides looked sluggish in transitions, but 17-year-old Gavi turned up the heat as he skinned past Bruno Fernandes to pick out Sarabia, who squared it for Morata to slot it home. Gavi would’ve assisted the game’s second goal if only Carlos Soler had taken his chance in the 30th minute when both attempts were wasteful.

Image Credits: reuters.com

Santos’ team had a couple of bright moments in the first half, with two of them falling for Rafael Leao, who scuffed his lines on both attempts on his first start for Portugal. Portugal came knocking on the door in the second half and thought they had equalised when Leao was 1v1 against Simon, who pulled off a great save with his leg to keep things at bay.

However, Portugal broke Spain’s resistance with a clever one-two on the right flank that carved open the defence, and Cancelo squared the ball to substitute Horta to volley it over Simon. Spain had one last chance to end the tie when Jordi Alba had an open net at his mercy but managed to thump his header just wide.

France stunned at home as Andreas Cornelius double staged a sensational comeback from Denmark

Denmark came from behind to hand France their first competitive home defeat in six years. Substitute Andreas Cornelius scored twice in 22 minutes to secure all three points for Denmark in the Nations League opener.

Both teams had very few clear-cut chances in the first half, but the hosts had a goal chalked off due to offside. Denmark came close to opening the scoring, but Joakim Maehle could only hit the side netting. Benzema had his shot blocked by Vestergaard, and a few minutes later, the Frenchman had the ball in the net but was ruled offside in the buildup.

Image Credits: 90min.com

Kylian Mbappe suffered an injury at the end of the first half and was replaced by Christopher Nkunku, who made his presence felt as he linked up with Benzema for the first goal. Benzema played a clever one-two before sliding past two defenders and slotting it home. Cornelius was brought on in the 60th minute and got himself on the scoresheet in just 8 minutes with an excellent finish. 

Then Hugo Lloris made a stunning save to keep France alive, while Ngolo Kante rattled the crossbar from 25 yards. Christian Eriksen was played a brilliant through ball, but his low shot was kept out by Lloris. The Danes finally got their lead when Cornelius managed to chase down a Maehle through ball before lashing a powerful shot into the roof of the net. 

Ralf Rangnick got off to a dream start as Austria thrashed Croatia 3-0 in their opening game of the Nations League campaign.

Marko Arnautovic, Michael Gregoritsch and Marcel Sabitzer were on the scoresheet as Austria took the top spot in Group A1 on opening day. 

Ivan Perisic, Josko Gvardiol and Sime Vrsaljko were ruled out due to injuries for Croatia. As for Austria, who missed out on World Cup qualification, they were without their captain and recent Champions League winner David Alaba. 

Image Credits: malaymail.com

Austria took the lead against the run of play when Marko Arnautovic made a solo run to the 18-yard box before slotting his shot into the bottom corner. Michael Gregoritsch was brought on at the halftime and made an immediate impact as the substitute doubled Austria’s lead in the 54th minute on the counterattack.

Just three minutes later, Marcel Sabitzer made it 3-0 for Austria and put the game to bed. Ralf Rangnick’s men clinched three valuable points as they face Denmark and France in the upcoming week. Stay Tuned with The Sportsway for more updates

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