Nations League kicks off: Rangnick wins Austria debut

Nations League kicks off
Rangnick wins his debut for Austria

The start of the Nations League is going very well for Austrian footballers – and thus for new coach Ralf Rangnick: his team beats Croatia 3-0. Denmark presented a surprise against defending champion France, and Belgium suffered a bitter defeat against the Netherlands.

Ralf Rangnick made the start of his dream as the new head of the Austrian national football team. The longtime Bundesliga coach has coached the world number 34. On his debut, he scored an unforgettable 3-0 (1-0) win at the start of the Nations League against runner-up Croatia. Rangnick’s team immediately advanced into Group A1 ahead of Denmark, who surprisingly won 2-1 (0-0) against world champions and defending champion France. Orange also celebrated a notable victory: in Group A4, the Dutch team Elftal beat neighboring Belgium 4-1 (1-0) in the 128 ‘derby der Laag Landen’.

Austrians without Alaba players stars

Overall success of coach Ralph Rangnick.

(Photo: AP)

As for the Austrians, captain Marko Arnautovic (41), Augsburg’s Michael Gregorich (54th) and Marcel Sabitzer (57) scored the failed goals under Rangnick’s predecessor Franco Voda in the World Cup qualifiers in March.

After the initial troubles, the Austrians played very effectively in Osijek and used their chances in the icy cold. It was the first victory over the Croats at the sixth attempt, who suffered their first defeat since the last 16 at last year’s European Championship – after nine matches.

Champions League champion David Alaba from Real Madrid missed Rangnick, and the former Munich player did not travel at all due to stress. Five Bundesliga professionals participated in the starting lineup: Sabitzer, Stefan Leiner of Gladbach, Konrad Laimer of RB Leipzig, Xavier Schlager of Wolfsburg, Karim Onisio of Mainz.

The high pressure that is typical of the Rangnick did not initially work as desired. The Croats, with Dortmund’s Marin Bongrajic, Stuttgart’s Borna Sosa, and Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric in the starting line-up, found playful solutions, controlling play even without their star Luka Modric, who sat on the bench for an hour, and created more clear scoring opportunities. .

The Austrians were stronger at the end of the first half, but the lead through Arnautovic’s 33rd international goal came as a surprise. In the second half, Rangnick brought in Christopher Tremmel and Grigorić from Berlin, who made it 2-0 after a great combination. Sabitzer pursued a long-range shot.

False start for the French against Denmark

France, the world champion and defending champion, started the competition in Paris with a crushing 2-1 (0-0) defeat against Denmark. The hosts were the best in Saint-Denis, but after seven consecutive victories they left the field empty-handed. The two teams will meet in the Qatar World Cup on November 26.

Substitute Andreas Cornelius (68/88) scored two goals for the Danish victory. Karim Benzema gave the hosts the lead at the start at the Stade de France, winning the Champions League with Real Madrid six days ago (51).

Without world champion coach Didier Deschamps, whose father died earlier this week and who was replaced by his assistant Guy Stéphane, France were initially lucky: Joachim Mahle hit the post from a tight angle (fourth).

With Bayern Munich players Lucas Hernandez and Kingsley Coman in the starting line-up, France took charge afterwards. The Danes, for whom Christian Eriksen played his first competitive match for the national team since suffering a heart attack at the European Championships last year, had no chances now.

That didn’t change much after the break. RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunko replaced Kylian Mbappe, who complained of knee pain. So the lead was reserved for Benzema: the veteran left two opponents in the penalty area and intentionally ended up. However, Cornelius unexpectedly turned the game completely on its head.

Belgium conceded a clear defeat

Obviously, the Netherlands won their 128th derby in Belgium. The Orange team also deserved to defeat their neighbors in Brussels 4:1 (1:0). This means that Elftal Bond coach Louis van Gaal is undefeated in ten matches.

Stephen Bergwijn of Tottenham Hotspur (40th), Barcelona strongman Memphis Depay (51/65) and Denzel Dumfries of Inter Milan (61) scored for the superior guests who beat their neighbors for the first time since 1997. Michy Batshuayi (90 +3) managed to score Cosmetic results only.

The Belgians lost their striker Romelu Lukaku after just half an hour, and the Chelsea striker was replaced with an ankle injury. Thorgan Hazard, Thomas Meunier, Axel Witsel (all from Borussia Dortmund) and Dederik Boyata (Hertha Berlin) were in the home team’s starting line-up, while goalkeeper Marc Flicken of SC Freiburg did not play for the visitors.

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