The Netherlands confirms that it is ready for the World Cup by qualifying with Croatia, and France doubts

The Dutch team confirmed its willingness to play the World Cup in Qatar, after losing its predecessor in Russia 2018, by qualifying for the semifinals of the European League of Nations with Croatia, while the doubt began to make its way towards the French team, champion of the world, falls back into the hands of Denmark.

In Amsterdam, the Netherlands showed once again that they put behind them the disappointment of missing the 2016 European Cup and then the 2018 World Cup, by renewing the victory over strong wild card Belgium 1-0 on Sunday at the end of Group D competitions.

Coach Louis van Gaal’s team entered their confrontation with their guest, second-ranked in the world, in the context of 14 games without defeat since leaving the European Cup final at the hands of the Czech Republic (0- 2) on June 27, 2021, and reinforced this series by renewing the victory over the “Red Devils”, who fell in the first leg at home 1-4, thanks to a late goal from the heart of Liverpool’s English defense, Virgil vanDijk.

With their first victory at home against the Belgian team since September 1997 in the World Cup qualifiers (3-1), the “orange” team decided the group card to the semifinals, widening the advantage difference to six points after needing a draw or even a loss by less than three goals to secure qualification for the semi-finals of this tournament, which reached the final of its first edition in 2019 when it fell 0-1 to Portugal.

Wales finished the group at the bottom of the table and fell to the second level, losing at home to Poland with a goal from Karol Svidersky (58).

This strong appearance of the orange team, which will host the final rounds (semi-finals and final) at home between June 14 and 18, is a good preparation for the World Cup in Qatar, which begins against the African champion Senegal on June 21. November, against the hosts and Ecuador.

The start was balanced, but with a lack of chances in both goals until the 29th minute, when Denzel Dumfries shot slightly over the Belgian crossbar.

Van Gaal then had to make an emergency substitution due to injury to Stephen Birkhaus, who made way for Cody Gakbo (30), coinciding with the pace that was maintained without threatening the two goals until the end of the first half.

The situation did not change in the second half, which was also lackluster until the 67th minute, when the Dutch goalkeeper shone by blocking Amadou Onana’s attempt after a beautiful pass from Kevin De Bruyne.

Eventually both teams woke up and the Netherlands managed to get to the net from a corner kick taken by Gakbo from the left and Van Dijk rose high and converted it into the nets of Thibaut Courtois (73), then came close to second. goal, but Stephen Berchvin’s attempt shook the side net (76).

Belgium responded with Timothy Castagni’s attempt from a difficult angle past the post (78), before the Netherlands had two missed chances through Davie Claesen and Berchvin.

In the first group, Croatia reached the semi-finals with a 3-1 victory over Austria in the second leg, while Denmark’s victory over world champions France 2-0 did not work out.

Croatia raised their score to 13 points, one point ahead of Denmark, while France settled for third place with less than two months to go in the campaign to defend their world title.

In Vienna, Croatia opened the scoring through veteran captain Luka Modric after 6 minutes, but Austria leveled through Christopher Bogmarter three minutes later.

And the tie lasted until the 69th minute, when Marco Leiva once again put Croatia, runner-up in the Russia 2018 World Cup, ahead, before veteran defender Dejan Lovren finally adjusted the score in favor of the Balkans by scoring the third goal ( 72).

In Copenhagen, Denmark renewed their victory over France with two clean goals.

The defeat is only France’s second in official competition in 32 matches (20 wins and 10 draws), with the first coming against Denmark in particular 1-2 at the start of this tournament in Paris last June.

Notably, Denmark and France are in a group at the World Cup final in Qatar, which starts on October 20, along with Australia and Tunisia.

Antoine Griezmann wore the captain’s armband in the absence of injured goalkeeper Hugo Lloris for the first time in his international career, while Olivier Giroud was back in attack after Karim Benzema was injured.

The French side started the game well without creating any real chances, before things turned upside down in the 5th minute when the hosts opened the scoring by Kasper Dolberg, who received a pass to the left from Michael Damsgaard and followed him into the net ( 34).

The French team did not wake up from the shock until they conceded the second goal when the defense failed to clear one of the balls, so Skov Olsen finished it off into the net (39). Olsen scored 8 goals in 23 international matches.

The French team pressed in the second half, hoping to change the result, and Kylian Mbappé had three opportunities, but goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel spoiled them all in a span of 5 minutes between 64 and 69, including the first solo.

Leipzig striker Didier Deschamps included Christopher Nkunko in place of Giroud, but to no avail as Denmark managed to keep a clean sheet until the final whistle.