Nations League: France dodge relegation after another defeat as Croatia and Netherlands top groups

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

World champions France continued their underwhelming preparation for the World Cup with defeat to Denmark on Sunday night - but narrowly avoided relegation in the Nations League.

Kasper Dolberg and Andreas Skov Olsen struck in the first half in Copenhagen to leave Les Bleus on just five points from their six Group A1 games.

France won the 2021 edition of the Nations League but now head to Qatar suffering from poor form on the pitch and escalating rows off it.

A crossfeld ball from Christian Eriksen opened up their defence for the opener as Dolberg slid home a fine delivery from Brentford newboy Mikkel Damsgaard. Skov Olsen’s volley from the 18-yard line made it two only minutes later after the visitors failed to clear a corner.

Denmark were forced to settle for second in the group however after Croatia downed Austria 3-1 in Vienna.

Christoph Baumgartner guided a header home after nine minutes to match Luka Modric’s early opener but the away side hit two goals in four second-half minutes to earn a place in next year’s finals. Austria were sent down to League B, finishing a point below France.

The Netherlands are set to host the finals after securing their spot as Group A4 champions by beating Belgium 1-0 in Amsterdam courtesy of a Virgil van Dijk header.

Wales were relegated from the top tier after a single-goal defeat at home to Poland.

Down in League 3, Kazakhstan’s promotion was already confirmed but a comical own goal by Aleksandr Marochkin away to Azerbaijan prompted a 3-0 defeat.