The Netherlands will not be participating in the Nations League final after going down 4-2 to Croatia in extra time. The game finished 2-2 after 90 minutes.

After the disappointing performances in the last international period, Ronald Koeman decided to begin with Lutsharel Geertruida in defence, while Mats Wieffer and Teun Koopmeiners partnered Frenkie de Jong in midfield. Xavi Simons and Donyell Malen partnered Cody Gakpo in attack.

The game was intense but chances were far and few between in the early stages. The first big opportunity fell to the Netherlands when Koopmeiners got in on goal but he fired over.

Then in the 34th minute, a good team move ended with Wieffer setting up Malen to fire in the opening goal.

Croatia then took control and in the 54th minute, Gakpo miscontrolled the ball and then tugged back Luka Modric to gift the visitors a penalty. Andrej Kramaric made no mistake to make it 1-1.

Croatia remained on top and Mario Pasalic fired them ahead in the 72nd minute after the Netherlands defence stood static from a cross.

Koeman brought on Wout Weghorst, Gini Wijnaldum, Steven Bergwijn and Noa Lang as they went for the equaliser. Nothing worked until the 96th minute. A scramble in the box led to Lang lashing the ball into the top corner.

Extra-time saw Croatia regain control and Bruno Petkovic was left unchallenged to lash home to make it 3-2. It should have been 3-3 shortly afterwards but Bergwijn was denied by the Croatian keeper before Lang put the rebound wide.

Koeman went kamikaze for the second half of extra time and through Virgil van Dijk up front. De Jong and Marten de Roon was the centre-back duo. It did not work and Croatia poured forward into the gaps.

Tyrell Malacia gave away a penalty and the excellent Luka Modric made it 4-2. There was then chances for a fifth but the offside flag came to the Netherlands rescue.

There will be no trophy for the Netherlands and instead they will battle for the 3rd place playoff against either Spain or Italy on Sunday.




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