Mbappe rescues France; Modric spurs Croatia
Sports Desk, Jun 10 (EFE).- France’s Kylian Mbappe scored with seven minutes left in regulation Friday to salvage a 1-1 draw against Austria in the Nations League, while Luka Modric was instrumental for Croatia in a 1-0 win over Denmark.
With 6 points, the Danes remain top of Group 1 in tier A of the competition and Austria are second on 4 points, the same as Croatia but above them in the table based on the head-to-head record. France, the reigning World Cup champions, are bottom with 2 points.
Group winners advance to the semifinals and the last-place finishers will be relegated to League B.
Austria, who started the campaign with a 3-0 away win against Croatia, led 1-0 at half-time in Vienna on a goal in the 37th minute by Andreas Weimann.
Les Bleus’ best chance of the first half came in the 18th minute on a free-kick. Austria keeper Patrick Pentz handled the initial strike and then stymied Karim Benzema on the rebound.
France still trailed after an hour and coach Didier Deschamps made what would prove to be a decisive change, pulling Antoine Griezmann in favor of Mbappe, who immediately put the hosts under pressure and brought the visitors level in the 83rd minute with an assist from another sub, Christopher Nkunku.
Mbappe watched a potential match-winner bounce off the cross-bar four minutes later before Pentz made another fine save to deny Matteo Guendouzi in stoppage time.
Substitutions were also key to Croatia’s first victory of the competition.
After a scoreless first half in Copenhagen, Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic made a triple-change in the 46th minute, sending out Modric, Josip Stanisic, and Mateo Kovacic.
A Modric free-kick in the 68th minute led to a corner that ended with Mario Pasalic beating Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel with a low blast. EFE