Sporting Life · Columnist
Holland scored twice in the last five minutes to snatch a dramatic 2-2 draw in Germany and qualify for next year’s Nations League Finals at the expense of world champions France.
Having trailed 2-0 since the 19th minute, Quincy Promes pulled one back before a superb 90th-minute volley from Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk earned Holland the point they needed to top Group A1.
Victory for already-relegated Germany would have meant France reached the last four and they looked well set when Timo Werner’s superb finish after nine minutes was followed by Leroy Sane’s deflected strike 2-0 soon after.
But Ronald Koeman’s side launched their dramatic fightback to become the last nation to qualify for next summer’s finals, joining England, Portugal and Switzerland.
Germany finish the Nations League without a win.
Slovakia were relegated from League B after losing 1-0 to Czech Republic. A point would have been enough for the hosts to secure their survival in a group that had already been won by Ukraine.
Roma striker Patrik Schick fired his side ahead shortly after the half-hour mark to ensure the Czech Republic remain in the second tier of the Nations League.
The Republic of Ireland drew 0-0 with Denmark in Aarhus in a dead rubber after the Danes sealed their promotion with victory over Wales in Cardiff on Friday.
Martin O’Neill saw his side scrap their way to just a second Nations League point. Ireland, who were second best in their friendly stalemate against Northern Ireland on Thursday evening, were resilient in Aarhus as they held the Danes to a goalless draw for the third time in four attempts in a little more than a year.
However, they needed the help of the woodwork on a night on which they failed to muster a single attempt on target. They have now not scored in 397 minutes of football, while their nine games in 2018 have yielded just a single victory.
Norway secured promotion to the second tier with a 2-0 victory in Cyprus, as challengers Bulgaria were held to a 1-1 draw with Slovenia.
Lars Lagerback’s side came into the game level on points and head-to-head record with Bulgaria in Group C4.
Los Angeles Galaxy striker Ola Kamara’s double looked set to earn Norway top spot on goal difference alone, but Miha Zajc’s equaliser for Slovenia ensured Lagerback’s men topped the group by two points.
Goals from Giorgi Merebashvili and Giorgi Chakvetadze were enough to hand already-promoted Georgia a 2-1 victory against Kazakhstan in Group D1.
In the other game in the group, Andorra and Latvia played out a goalless draw.
Macedonia will also play in the third tier in the next Nations League. Needing just a point against Gibraltar to beat Armenia to top spot in Group D4, the hosts recorded a comfortable 4-0 win.
Armenia drew 2-2 in Liechtenstein and finished five points back.