Stefan Lehner drops the Austrian right. He makes low loops for Marko Arnautovic, who is trying to turn and slot in the lower left. Arnautović didn’t quite catch it, Hugo Lloris claimed. France counter, Karim Benzema test again Patrick Bentz, curled towards the top right. Once again, the Austrian goalkeeper grabs a strong arm to turn the ball out to an angle from which nothing is coming.
France is in a spot of anxiety now. If they cannot return to this match, and if leaders Denmark win in Copenhagen, they will be eight points behind the Danes with only three games to play. On the bench, Kylian Mbappé appears visibly unmoved, his arms tightly folded with his face in the scorching position.
Andreas Wiemann scores his first goal for Austria after a long wait! Marko Arnautovic, fighting bravely, makes his way down the right inner channel before passing a pass to Konrad Laimer on the overlap. He doesn’t hear it right away, and he couldn’t miss the 30-year-old Weimann, who won his 17th hat ten years after his debut! Sent down to the left, he left no chance for Hugo Lloris at all.
Marko Arnautovic has an injury. It’s elusive, and Boubacar Camara has picked his pocket over the edge of his own box, which beats Karim Benzema. The Real Madrid striker whistled directly into Patrick Bentz’s throat.
Deception spread throughout Europe. A continent-wide pest.
A ball revolves in the French square from the right. Andreas Weimann is in the space on a penalty, but he wants a lot of time, and in the end Benjamin Pavard put him off. Faymann wants a penalty, but Austria just got a corner kick, which Stefan Liner heads in the arms of Hugo Lloris.
Croatia went up to the other end and won the first corner. He’s moved again on the left for Mislav Orcic, who swings deep for Andrej Kramaric in the far arm. Kramaric backs the ball up, producing something that is neither a cross nor a shot, and the Danes swerve away. Good chance, that.
In Copenhagen, Joachim Andersen puts the ball at his feet, just to the right of the penalty area. He’s aiming for the top right corner, just until his shot veers off the corner. From it, Pierre-Emile Hojberg passed Hoeks from the edge of the penalty area. Both games are swinging at an acceptable rate.
France began to dominate Vienna. They hit the ball very beautifully and very quickly. Austria is struggling to get out of its own half in the minute.
Nicholas Seewald joins Stefan Liner in the referee’s notebook after slipping hysterically through Moussa Diaby. From the resulting free kick, goalkeeper Patrick Bentz fumbled on his team’s line, breaking the ball to Karim Benzema. You would have propped up Benzema to collect the gift from six yards, but Bentz made up for his mistake by holding out a firm hand to stop the thrilling reaction. His teammates breakout is obvious.
Croatia finally appears in attack, as Mislav Orcic cut through the left flank and hoisted over the bar. “Did Casper wave, signal, and draw attention to the hatch, similar to a gun that’s not doing its job?” wonders Joe Belcher, who drops it in one.
Aurélien Tchouameni, who quickly praises Real Madrid’s midfield, shoots from distance. He has a lot behind him, but he always rises above the Austrian bar. Meanwhile in Copenhagen, Christian Eriksen slipped a superb pass inside the left channel to release Joachim Muhl, who fired a poor effort into the side netting. Dominic Levakovic should at least have worked in the Croatian goal.
Andreas Cornelius in the thick of it in Copenhagen. First, he shot hard over the bar from the edge of the Croatian penalty area, then was booked for an intense aerial challenge on goalkeeper Dominic Levakovic, who needs some treatment after suffering a header.
Forced into the first corner of the evening in Vienna, Maximilian Weber makes his way down the left with a great goal. Austria Load the box. William Saliba sees the matter clearly. France rose to the other end through Kingsley Coman, who was unceremoniously brought down by Stefan Liner from the back. The Austrian right-back goes to the book.
Meanwhile they are working and now working in Copenhagen. You know, this was probably the first ever sighting of a tie length at a football match without an environmental demonstrator attached to it.
First big chance in Vienna, Andreas Weimann danced across the middle of the French defense and into the penalty area. But before he can pull the trigger, Theo Hernandez does a good last-minute challenge, then the flag goes up for offside.
A short delay in Copenhagen as Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel discovered a minor flaw in his goal net in the first half. Comes on dude to fix it with a little cable tie. What a drama here, huh.
The difference is out! Austria, playing red these days, takes to the field with France at the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna. Denmark, with another red and white hamel, trotted out at Barken in Copenhagen alongside Croatia, in the black second selection. We’ll be leaving in a minute!
While we wait for the match to kick off, how about some retro moves. First, the Austrian Wunderteam of 1934…
…and coqs of walking (at Adidas) at Euro 84.
Meanwhile, there is only one place we can go as far as Denmark is concerned…
…while another style icon debuted on the world stage 12 years later.
Denmark: Schmeichel, Andersen, Mæhle, Christensen, Delaney, Eriksen, Skov Olsen, Damsgaard, Wass, Cornelius, Højbjerg.
Croatia: Levakovic, Vrsaljko, Otalo, Kramaric, Brozovic, Pasalić, Jakic, Orsic, Ivanosic, Erlich. Yuranovic.
Andreas Christensen, a former Chelsea player, returns to Denmark. Christian Eriksen, in the shop window, captains, while Martin Braithwaite starts on the bench. Croatia left two big guns on the bench in Mateo Kovacic and Luka Modric.
Austria: Bentz, Trauner, Seewald, Arnautovic, Alaba, Sabitzer, Wiemann, Weber, Laimer, Lehner, Schlager.
France: Loris, Pavard, Konate, Griezmann, Chuamini, Coman, Camara, Saliba, Benzema, Diaby, Hernandez.
Marko Arnautovic and Andreas Wiemann return to the Austrian ranks led by Ralf Rangnick. Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate makes his first game for France, while a new signing with Aston Villa begins for the first time. Kylian Mbappe on the bench.
We have some A1 entertainment ready for you this evening. Literally A1, it is the A1 group of the Nations League, which means that …
Austria vs France
Denmark vs Croatia
…although there are three more matches tonight as well: Albania vs Israel in B2, Belarus vs Kazakhstan in C3, and Andorra-Liechtenstein in D1. We plan to focus on world champions France, who are in a quandary after losing at home to Denmark and retaining them in Croatia, although you never know how that goes, so let’s just see where the mood takes us. All five games start at 7.45pm GMT. It’s up!