Photo by Slobodan Kadic
It will be Croatia vs. Spain in the UEFA Nations League final on Sunday in Rotterdam. The last time the two teams met was during the EURO 2020 last 16 when Spain knocked Croatia out of the tournament in extra time.
After Spain defeated Italy 2-1 in the Nations League semi-final in Enschede on Thursday, Croatia’s final opponent was set. The two teams will meet in the grand final on Sunday in Rotterdam.
Spain won thanks to goals scored by Yeremi Pino (3) and Josela (89), while Ciro Immobile (11) scored a penalty. Spain deservedly defeated Italy and wanted the Nations League final far more.
Croatia previously qualified for the Nations League final after extra time in Rotterdam on Wednesday, beating the Netherlands 4-2. The Netherlands led after the first half with a goal by Donyell Malen, but Andrej Kramarić and Mario Pašalić turned it around in the second half. In the final seconds of the 96th minute, Noa Lang took the game to extra time.
Croatia’s hero was Bruno Petković, who scored a fantastic goal for the new Croatia lead in extra time. He also won a penalty which Luka Modrić scored to confirm their spot in the final.
On Sunday at 15:00, the Netherlands and Italy will play for the bronze in Enschede, and at 20:45, Croatia and Spain will meet in the final in Rotterdam. The last match between Croatia and Spain was in the dramatic Euro 2020 round of 16. Recall, Spain won 5-3 after extra time, and the match was full of twists and turns. First, Croatia took the lead with an own goal by Pedri, then Pablo Sarabia, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ferran Torres led Spain to 3-1.
When it seemed that everything was over, goals by Mislav Oršić in the 85th minute and Mario Pašalić in the 92nd minute brought the game to extra time. However, Spain was more concentrated, and Alvaro Morata and Mikel Oyarzabal scored to knock Croatia out of the Euros.
When looking at the two teams head-to-head, Croatia has 3 wins compared to 5 wins for Spain, with one draw.
Croatia has their chance to not only gain revenge on Spain after their heartbreaking EURO 2020 exit, but to win the first gold medal in Croatian football history.
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