MATCHDAY: Denmark, Dutch can reach Nations League Final Four
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Thursday:
LEAGUE A, GROUP 1
Denmark can win the group and qualify for the Final Four next year by winning away to Croatia. But the Croats can move into pole position with a victory in Zagreb and will be confident after winning at defending champion France in the previous game. The Danes hold a two-point lead over the Croats, who will be safe from relegation if they avoid defeat or if France does not win at home to Austria. A win for Austria at Stade de France will relegate France to the second tier and ensure Austria stays up. Austria has an outside shot at qualifying with a victory and a Danish defeat. France coach Didier Deschamps has nine regular players injured, including goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris. That gives AC Milan’s Mike Maignan a chance to stake his claim for a starting place at the World Cup. Meanwhile, his club teammate Olivier Giroud needs three goals to equal Thierry Henry’s national scoring record of 51.
LEAGUE A, GROUP 4
The Netherlands and Belgium can set up a head-to-head on Sunday for the right to finish in first place and qualify for the Final Four next year if they both win their next-to-last group games against Poland and Wales, respectively. The Dutch are unbeaten and lead on 10 points — more than any other team in the top-tier groups — and are likely to start Memphis Depay even though the winger is spending a lot of time on the bench at Barcelona. Belgium is three points back in second place and must at least match Netherlands’ result to have a chance of topping the group. Only the first-place team goes through to the finals. Wales will be playing for the first time since Robert Page was hired as its full-time coach.
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