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Croatia secures Nations League Finals spot with a 3-1 triumph over Austria

Zlatko Dalic
's determined squad entered the match with a clear goal in mind – claiming three points to top Group 1. Their early offensive onslaught was led by a dazzling strike from Luka Modric, setting the tone just six minutes into the game.

However, Austria, battling for a win to stave off relegation, swiftly countered, leveling the score three minutes later. Marcel Sabitzer's precise cross from the left found Christoph Baumgartner, whose skillful header found the back of the net.

Baumgartner missed a golden opportunity at the 25-minute mark, narrowly missing the target with a strike that grazed the post, leaving Austria rueing the chance to take the lead. Marko Arnautovic also failed to capitalize before the half ended, as Dominik Livakovic's crucial save kept Croatia in the game.

Austria's missed opportunities came back to haunt them as Croatia seized the lead through Livaja, who expertly met Ivan Perisic's cross with a powerful header at the far post. Minutes later, Lovren sealed the deal, capitalizing on a defensive lapse, as the Austrian backline left him unmarked, allowing him to secure Croatia's decisive second goal.

With this double blow, Austria's fate was sealed, resulting in their relegation to League B, while Croatia secured their spot in the highly anticipated Final Four.

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