Netherlands win over Wales in thriller, Belgium crush Poland

Ben Davies of Wales, Wout Weghorst of The Netherlands, Joe Rodon of Wales during the UEFA Nations League match between Wales and The Netherlands at Cardiff City Stadium on June 8, 2022 in Cardiff, Wales.


Wout Weghorst shattered Wales' 19-match unbeaten home record with just seconds left as the Netherlands claimed a dramatic 2-1 victory in Wednesday's UEFA Nations League clash in Cardiff.

Wales will head to Qatar in November for their first World Cup appearance in 64 years after beating Ukraine 1-0 in the playoff final on Sunday.

But Robert Page's side, who face USA, Iran and England in the group stage in Qatar, came back down to earth with a bump as they suffered a second successive Nations League Group A4 defeat after last week's loss in Poland.

In a thrilling finale, Rhys Norrington-Davies equalized for Wales in stoppage-time following Teun Koopmeiners' goal early in the second half.

Burnley striker Weghorst sealed the points for the Netherlands in the 93rd minute as the visitors ruined the longest unbeaten home run in Wales' history. For the first time since November 2018, Wales were beaten in front of their own fans.

"It was a difficult game. We didn't have our full-strength squad," Wales captain Gareth Bale said.

"They're a world-class team and we deserve to be testing ourselves against the best… The boys who came in worked very hard to get the equalizer, then to concede after that was gutting. It's something we have to learn, maybe the dark arts of taking him down," he added.

Lewandowski scored, but Poland crushed by Belgium 

It was a second consecutive Nations League victory for the Netherlands, who beat Belgium on Friday.

But Belgium managed to bounce back, thrashing Poland to win their Nations League match 6-1 in Brussels, with five goals in just over 30 minutes.

"Against the Netherlands we were passive, waiting, insecure. Now we were a team instead of individuals," said Belgium coach Roberto Martinez.

Belgium suffered another early setback as the visitors took the lead after 28 minutes as star striker Robert Lewandowski struck with his 22nd goal for club and country in 2022.

The Bayern Munich attacker controlled a pass from Piotr Zielinski in mid-air and then poked it past the on-rushing Simon Mignolet with the outside of his left boot. 

The hosts leveled three minutes before halftime. 

Kevin de Bruyne cut through the Polish defense. After his drive was parried, Timothy Castagne rolled the ball back to Axel Witsel who swerved a drive inside the post. 

Belgium took the lead after 59 minutes on the counter-attack. Captain Eden Hazard found De Bruyne free in the box and he slid a shot past Bartlomiej Dragowski. 

Hazard, who struggled with injury at Real Madrid this season and was an unused substitute in the Champions League final, came off after 66 minutes. 

Leandro Trossard replaced Hazard and scored twice in seven minutes. 

Defender Leander Dendoncker then struck his first international goal from long range. 

Lois Openda, who came off the bench to make his international debut with six minutes left, rounded off the rout in added time. 

Belgium, who lost their Group 4 opener to the Netherlands, sit second behind their neighbors and ahead of Poland on goal difference. 

In the World Cup in Qatar in November, Belgium have been drawn in a group with Canada, Morocco and the 2018 losing finalists Croatia. Poland face Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Argentina. 

Meanwhile, Viktor Tsygankov lifted Ukraine's spirits as the midfielder struck with a fine free-kick early in the second half at Dublin's Aviva Stadium and clinched a 1-0 Nations League victory over Ireland. Ukraine did not qualify for this year's World Cup after 1-0 defeat against Wales on Sunday.

Scotland won 2-0 against Armenia in its first Nations League match after missing out on the World Cup in Qatar.  


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