Denmark stun France, Netherlands demolish Belgium in Nations League

Andreas Cornelius (Trabzonspor) of Denmark celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the UEFA Nations League League A Group 1 match between France and Denmark at Stade de France on June 3, 2022 in Paris, France. 


Substitute Andreas Cornelius scored twice as Denmark recovered from conceding to a brilliant Karim Benzema goal to beat France 2-1 on Friday in the UEFA Nations League at the Stade de France, the first match at the venue since the chaos that marred last weekend's Champions League final.

Benzema's stunning strike put World Cup holders France in front six minutes after half-time, only for striker Cornelius from Turkish side Trabzonspor to turn in Denmark's equalizer midway through the second half and then smash in an 88th-minute winner.

That meant it was a disappointing night for France who also saw both Kylian Mbappe and Raphael Varane come off with knocks.

Denmark's captain Christian Eriksen reflected on his journey back to health after suffering a cardiac arrest during a match against Finland at Euro 2020, saying he was "so pleased to be back."

"I think the first miracle started when they saved me on the pitch; that is the first thought," he said. 

There was a near-full house of 75,833 inside the Stade de France, including 1,400 Danish supporters, but the atmosphere outside the ground ahead of kick-off was calm.

That was in stark contrast to the scenes six days earlier, when serious organizational problems led to fans being unable to get into the stadium while many peaceful supporters were tear-gassed ahead of Real Madrid's 1-0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League final.

Also on Friday, Memphis Depay scored a double as the Netherlands ended 25 years without success against neighbors Belgium with a 4-1 thumping of their hosts in Brussels.

Steven Bergwijn and Denzel Dumfries netted the other two goals as the Dutch ended Belgium's almost six-year unbeaten home record in a stark reversal for the team, who had topped the FIFA rankings for three years until being recently deposed.

Bergwijn hammered home from outside the box in the 40th minute to give the Dutch a deserved halftime lead before Depay and Dumfries added more in the second half in a decisive performance.

Belgium, who lost Romelu Lukaku to injury early on, scored a consolation three minutes into stoppage time through Michy Batshuayi but were badly exposed at the back and the result will come as a serious setback as they prepare for the World Cup later this year.

Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk said he was not surprised by the away win.

"We analysed them well and we executed our plans, we did it very well. It was an excellent night," he said.

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