Wins for France, Belgium, Croatia and Netherlands - RTHK
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Wins for France, Belgium, Croatia and Netherlands

2022-09-23 HKT 05:30
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  • Kylian Mbappe helped France to a much-needed win in Paris. Photo: AFP
    Kylian Mbappe helped France to a much-needed win in Paris. Photo: AFP
Kylian Mbappe scored a stunning opening goal as France shook off injuries to a host of key players and a series of off-field issues to claim a welcome 2-0 win over Austria in Uefa Nations League Group A1 in Paris on Thursday.

Mbappe showcased his phenomenal pace and strength on the way before finishing emphatically to put the reigning world champions ahead in the 56th minute at the Stade de France.

The recalled Olivier Giroud then doubled the scoring nine minutes later as France ran out deserved winners to stave off the threat of relegation from the top tier of the Nations League, a competition they won just last year.

Elsewhere, Croatia substitute Lovro Majer scored a late goal as they beat Denmark 2-1 to top the group. His winner came two minutes after visiting captain Christian Eriksen's superb equaliser.

Having beaten the Danes in Copenhagen in June, the Croatians repeated the feat to reach 10 points from five games, one ahead of Denmark in their bid for a Nations League semi-final spot.

In Group A4, the Netherlands beat Poland 2-0 in Warsaw to move closer to qualification for the finals, as Cody Gakpo and Steven Bergwijn continued their excellent starts to the season.

Louis van Gaal's men maintained their three-point lead over Belgium, who edged out Wales 2-1 in Brussels, at the top of the group. They will need only a point from their last game against the Belgians in Amsterdam on Sunday to be sure of securing top spot.

The Dutch appear to be in strong form ahead of their World Cup opener in Qatar against African champions Senegal on November 21.

Poland qualified for the World Cup with a play-off victory over Sweden in March but were toothless against the Dutch.

Kevin De Bruyne scored one and made the other for his team-mate Michy Batshuayi as the Belgians kept their slim chances of reaching the Nations League semi-finals alive against Wales.

Roberto Martinez's men will need to win by at least three goals when the sides meet in Amsterdam on Sunday to progress to the last four.

Wales need to beat Poland in Cardiff in their final game to avoid relegation into League B. (AFP)