Goal! Denmark lead Austria 1-0 after Pierre-Emile Højbjerg scored the opening goal in a game that started some 90 minutes late due to a power failure in Vienna. I’m afraid it’s now time to wrap up this blog, but we’ll be putting a full recap of today’s games online shortly. Thanks for joining me!
League A: Austria LL Denmark, Croatia 1-1 France
League B: Iceland 1-1 Albania
League C: Belarus 0-0 Azerbaijan; Slovakia 0-1 Kazakhstan
League D: Latvia 1-0 Liechtenstein, Andorra 0-0 Moldova
It’s all over, no one is able to pull off a winner despite a frantic end-to-end finale spell after Kramaric’s Leveler.
92 min: Sucic misses a great opportunity! The teenager runs on a through ball in front of Kimpembe and can shoot or cross – but neither well enough, taking his shot wide of goal.
90 minutes: Clauss, trying to redeem the penalty, sees his cut-back against Rabiot being cleared away. Four extra minutes.
88 minutes: Uff! Croatia almost surrendered victory to France here. A defensive error puts Griezmann one-on-one and Livakovic is off his line – but he cuts his space and Griezmann briefly has an open goal to aim for. However, the ball misses just a little and when a defender bounces back his shot from long range drifts wide.
86 minutes: Croatia’s attacking changes have worked wonders and they almost get another one here! Orsic rushes forward, the French defenders retreat and fire off a low post shot that Maignan parries very well…
Austria and Denmark are goalless after 15 minutes in Vienna. Well, at least the light is on.
84 minutes: France led Denmark 1-0 and lost – can that happen again? Kimpembe reveals some tension, rattling Sucic in midfield and earning a yellow card.
Kramaric takes it, waits for Maignan to move and rolls the ball to the other corner. A gift from Clauss, and Croatia is flat!
Penalty for Croatia! The referee points to the spot after Kramaric’s heels were clipped by Clauss seconds after the defender came on. But no – he has now whistled for offside in the build-up. The VAR checks again – and the penalty is awarded!
79 minutes: Modric is substituted, replaced by Salzburg’s Luka Sucic. West Ham’s Nikola Vlasic is also included, replacing Kovacic. Jonathan Clauss replaces Diaby for France.
75 minutes: Big chance for France, who again snapped the shaky Croatian offside trap. Griezmann is in the room to the right of goal but his shot is blocked by Livakovic, who intercepts his attempted cross to Nkunku.
The teams started almost 90 minutes late in Vienna.
70 minutes: Modric makes a stunning cameo, shimmying to the edge of the box and curling a shot on target. Maignan comes over to push it away.
67 minutes: Kramaric comes on for Budimir, who missed a decent chance in the first half and has faded ever since…
“Austria-Denmark apparently starts at 10:15 p.m.,” says Lars Bøgegaard. So any minute now.
Croatia also make some changes, with Mario Pasalic and Mislav Orsic replacing Brekalo and Majer.
60 minutes: Joins for France, with new Villa recruit Boubacar replacing Kamara Tchouameni on his international debut. Antoine Griezmann came on for Ben Yedder, who did very little but set up the goal.
58 minutes: Croatia is pushing forward again but still struggling for the lead. Budimir tries to land at the end of a cross but is well arranged by Kimpembe.
We’re still waiting to see if the game can start in Vienna. That’s the news you’re all eagerly awaiting, isn’t it?
Croatia started the half ahead but it’s France who take the lead. Adrien Rabiot grabs Ben Yedder’s through ball down the left and puts the ball inside the near post for the first time!
GATE! Iceland 1-1 Albania Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson equalized after a corner in League B, Group 2. By the way, this group consists of three teams, with Russia being disqualified. Israel is the other side of the group.
Look at! The second half is on in Split. No changes on either side, which is a surprise.
“Observable?!” John Ryan yells. “There were three shots, it’s brutal. Put France’s first choice at the top at half-time or this chaos will take more than 90 minutes of our lives that we’ll never get back.
I mean it’s not unmistakable …
It’s also halftime in Reykjavik, where Albania leads Iceland 1-0. Elsewhere: Belarus 0-0 Azerbaijan, Slovakia 0-1 Kazakhstan, Andorra 0-0 Moldova.
An entertaining half of football ends goalless, with Christopher Nkunku watching a try go unacknowledged and chances spurned by either team.
Not yet in progress in Vienna, where it is now dark. You wonder if this game will even start at this point. Meanwhile in Andorra, Moldova’s Victor Stina was sent off – giving the hosts a chance for a famous win.
40 minutes: A slip by Vida almost lets Diaby in after Nkunku’s pass, but the winger carries the ball a little too far and Livakovic saves from an angle. Shortly thereafter, Tchouameni hits from long range and forces the Croatian goalkeeper to make another lively save.
GATE! Iceland 0-1 Albania Taulant Seferi sweeps the ball home to put Albania ahead in Reykjavik.
NO GOAL! Nkunku thinks he put France in front but after a VAR check on the sidelines, the referee decides it’s offside!
We have a goal! Kazakhstan leads 1-0 against Slovakia in Trnava. Aslan Darabayev is the man on the scorer list. Back in Split, Brozovic is punished for rattling the unfortunate Nkunku.
23 minutes: Nkunku can move on – which will be a relief for his many summer club-level contenders. The free-kick is whipped in the direction of another wanted man, Tchouameni, who deflects his shot wide of the back post.
20 minutes: Vida goes into the book for a tough challenge on Nkunku, who is still holding his leg. It was a clumsy hack but was made worse by the pitch when the French forward’s boots caught in the surface.
No kick-off time in Vienna yet, the problem apparently extends far beyond the stadium. It is scoreless in all games in progress; at the early kick-off in league D, Latvia 1-0 win against Liechtenstein.
The French setup looks pretty fluid, with Digne falling off the ball into left-back. They also play a very high line and it almost costs them here as a simple through ball clears Budimir. He tries to pull Maignan out of the gate but the keeper stands firm and blocks his shot.
A game did not start on time: The game in Vienna was postponed due to a power failure. When or if they will start is not yet certain.
Six minutes passed in Split, where Majer just missed a shot from Modric’s corner.
The other matches starting at 19.45 are Iceland – Albania (League B), Belarus – Azerbaijan and Slovakia – Kazakhstan (both League C) and Andorra – Moldova (Group D)…
Look at! We’re about to start in Split, Vienna and beyond.
A fan in Split tonight sent me this photo. Fans are still queuing to board outside the stadium, with kick-off less than 15 minutes away.
Here’s Ben Fisher’s journey from Wales from the wild to the World Cup:
Austria (4-1-4-1): Pentz; Trimmel, Posch, Alaba (c), Friedl; Selwald; Laimer, Schlager, Ljubicic, Baumgartner; Kalajdzic.
Substitutes: Lindner (TG), Fraisl (TG), Trauner, Danso, Arnautovic, Sabitzer, Weimann, Gregoritsch, Wöber, Onisiwo, Lainer, Lázaro.
Denmark (4-2-3-1): flattery (c); Andersen, Nelson, Vestergaard, Mahle; Hojbjerg, Jensen; Kristensen, Eriksen, Braithwaite; Poulsen.
Substitutes: Iversen (TW), Vindahl-Jensen (TW), Delaney, Skov Olsen, Boilesen, Damsgaard, Billing, Stryger, Wass, Skov, Cornelius.
Not quite sure how Didier Deschamps will line up tonight – looks like a potential 3-5-2 with Digne and Diaby at full-back, but Uefa have it as a more conventional 4-2-3-1, with Rabiot , pushing forward.
Luka Modric is back in the starting XI for the hosts and made his 150th appearance for his country tonight. Osasuna forward Ante Budimir and Rangers full-back Borna Barisic are also brought into the squad by Zlatko Dalic.
Croatia (4-3-3): Livakovic; Juranovic, Erlic, Vida, Barisic; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Majer, Budimir, Brekalo.
Substitutes: Labrovic (TW), Ivusic (TW), Vrsaljko, Sutalo, Pongracic, Kramaric, Vlasic, Sucic, Pasalic, Jakic, Orsic, Ivanusec.
France (3-5-2): Maignan; Pavard, Saliba, Kimpembe; Diaby, Guendouzi, Tchouameni, Rabiot, Digne; Nkunku, Ben Yedder.
Substitutes: Lloris (TW), Areola (TW), Konaté, Koundé, Griezmann, Mbappé, Coman, Kamara, Clauss, Benzema, Lucas Hernandez, Theo Hernandez.
The third edition of the Nations League is a full-throttle affair – the last four are set by September, with four of the six rounds of group matches being played in the current two-week window. There have already been some eye-catching results, leaving big teams just days to turn things around – and start some momentum ahead of November’s World Cup in Qatar (yes, it’s really happening).
France, the holders of the Nations League, are one such side – a home loss to World Cup group-mates Denmark put them in a difficult position ahead of tonight’s game in Split. The same goes for your hosts, Croatia, who were defeated 3-0 by Ralf Rangnick’s Austria. Whoever loses that replay of the last men’s World Cup final in 2018, which honestly feels about 10 years ago, is going to be a long way behind, right?
In the meantime, Austria and Denmark will meet in Vienna in a battle for control of Group A1. Kasper Hjulmand’s team appear poised to replace Croatia as the team every single pundit chooses for a ‘run’ at the World Cup. Austria will not travel to Qatar but it could be argued that their first result under Rangnick was more impressive than anything he achieved at Manchester United.
But wait – there’s more! In League B, Iceland host Albania… OK, that’s as far as it goes. But it should still be fun. Today’s games kick off: 19:45 (BST).