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Mateo Kovačić helps Croatia reach Nations League final four

Whatever that means

Austria v Croatia: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 1 Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

The only Chelsea player involved in international action yesterday (Sunday) was Mateo Kovačić, who started for Croatia in their 3-1 win over Austria, which confirmed their place in the finals of the current Nations League cycle. Kova played all but the final few minutes, replaced by former Chelsea loanee Mario Pašalić on 84 minutes, as Croatia sealed top spot in Group 1.

The other game in Group 1 was Denmark’s 2-0 win over France, which featured ex-Chelsea boys Andreas Christensen and Olivier Giroud, but did not feature N’Golo Kanté, who’s injured, or Wesley Fofana, who is with the under-21s for France.

The Nations League has thrown up some surprising results and developments despite it’s supposed pseudo-competitiveness, and one of those has been the resurrection of the Netherlands as a legitimate power: they’ve lost just once in their last 23 games in all competitions. Their latest win, 1-0 over Belgium last night, booked their spot in the National League final four as well.

Belgium, like France, were unaccustomedly Chelsea-less, with Romelu Lukaku injured and Michy Batshuayi now gone for good. Ex-Chelsea friends Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, and Kevin De Bruyne all started. Nathan Aké got to start for the Dutch.

The other game in this group featured an Ethan Ampadu-less Wales succumb 1-0 to Poland and thus get relegated to the B League. Ampadu was serving a one-match suspension for yellow card accumulation.

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