August 20, 2022

Halftime to-do list.
1. Join Fiver
2. That’s it

Half-time scores from tonight’s other Nations League games…

B2: Albania 0-0 Israel
C3: Belarus 0-1 Kazakhstan
D1: Andorra 0-0 Liechtenstein

… and the full times before …

c3: Azerbaijan 0-1 Slovakia
D1: Moldova 2-4 Latvia

HALF-TIME: Denmark 0-0 Croatia

Denmark did most of the attack, Croatia the lion’s share of the defence. And here we are. As things stand, Denmark will end the evening top of the A1, one point ahead of Austria, five over Croatia and six over world champions France.

HALF-TIME: Austria 1-0 France

Andreas Weimann’s debut goal for Austria is the difference maker in Vienna right now.

Stefan Lainer crushes the Austrian right. He loops down for Marko Arnautović, who tries to spin and slot in to the bottom left. Arnautović doesn’t quite understand, and Hugo Lloris claims. France against, and Karim Benzema tests Patrick Pentz again, aiming for a curler to the top right. Once again, the Austrian goalkeeper raises a strong arm to deflect the ball for a corner, from which nothing comes out.

France is now in difficulty. If they can’t come back in this game, and if the Danish leader wins in Copenhagen, they will be eight points behind the Danes with only three games left. On the bench, Kylian Mbappé does not look impressed, his arms crossed with his face in harrumph mode.

OBJECTIVE! Austria 1-0 France (Weimann 36)

Andreas Weimann finally scores his first goal for Austria! Marko Arnautović, fighting bravely, fights his way into the inside right channel before throwing a pass to Konrad Laimer on the overlap. Laimer smacks him instantly, and Weimann, 30, winning his 17th cap ten years after his debut, can’t miss it! He rushes down the left, giving Hugo Lloris no chance.

Austrian striker Andreas Weimann (R) celebrates scoring the first goal. Photography: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Marko Arnautović suffers from an injury. He is far from the rhythm and he gets his pocket picked up on the edge of his own surface by Boubacar Kamara, who plays Karim Benzema. The Real Madrid striker whistles a shot straight into the throat of Patrick Pentz.

Scrappiness is erupting all over Europe. A continent-wide plague.

A ball passes into the French area from the right. Andreas Weimann is in space on the penalty spot, but he wants way too much time and is eventually sent off by Benjamin Pavard. Weimann wants a penalty, but Austria only get a corner, from which Stefan Lainer heads into the arms of Hugo Lloris.

Croatia come up the other end and win their first corner. It worked on the left flank for Mislav Oršić, who swings deep for Andrej Kramarić at furthest batting. Kramarić cushions the ball, producing something that isn’t a cross or a shot, and the Danes clear. Good luck, that.

In Copenhagen, Joachim Andersen has the ball at his foot, a little to the right of the penalty spot. He aims for the top right corner, only to have his shot deflected for a corner. From there, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg høicks from the edge of the box. Both games are progressing at a pleasant pace.

France begins to dominate in Vienna. They stroke the ball in a very nice style and at high speed. Austria struggle to get out of their own half at the minute.

French striker Kingsley Coman (L) and Austrian defender Stefan Lainer battle for the ball.
French striker Kingsley Coman (L) and Austrian defender Stefan Lainer battle for the ball. Photography: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Nicolas Seiwald joins Stefan Lainer in the referee’s notebook after hysterically slipping through Moussa Diaby. From the resulting free-kick, goalkeeper Patrick Pentz fumbles down his own line, the ball breaking towards Karim Benzema. You’d back Benzema to give a giveaway from six yards, but Pentz makes up for his mistake by raising a strong hand to make a sensational reaction save. His teammates emerge.

Croatia finally showed up in attack, Mislav Oršić cutting in from the left and going over the bar. “Has Kasper waved, pointed and otherwise called attention to the hole, like a defender not doing his job? wonders Joe Pilcher, who has one.

Mislav Orsic, left, in action.
Mislav Orsic, left, in action. Photograph: Darko Bandic/AP

Aurélien Tchouameni, soon to be Real Madrid midfielder, shoots from a distance. He has plenty behind, but it always rises above the Austrian bar. Meanwhile in Copenhagen, Christian Eriksen slips a delicious pass into the inside left channel to release Joakim Mæhle, who slams a poor effort into the side netting. He should have at least worked Dominik Livaković in the Croatian goal.

Andreas Cornelius is in the heart of the matter in Copenhagen. First he blazes wildly over the bar from the edge of the Croatian box, then he’s booked for an overzealous aerial challenge on goalkeeper Dominik Livaković, who requires treatment after being hit in the head .

The first corner of the evening in Vienna is forced by Maximilian Wöber, who sneaks in on the left with a lot of determination. Austria loads the box. William Saliba is clear. France come up at the other end through Kingsley Coman, who is unceremoniously brought down from behind by Stefan Lainer. The Austrian right-back comes into the book.

In the meantime, they are operational in Copenhagen. You know, this may have been the first-ever sight of a length of cable tie at a football game without an environmental protester strapping to it.

The first big chance in Vienna, as Andreas Weimann dances in the middle of the French defense and in the area. But before he can pull the trigger, Theo Hernández makes a nice last minute challenge and then the flag is raised for offside.

A short delay in Copenhagen as Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel spots a minor blemish in the net of the goal he is guarding in the first half. A guy arrives to fix it with a bit of cable tie. What a drama here, huh.

The teams are out! Austria, who are playing in red these days, will face the blues of France at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion in Vienna. Denmark, in another tasteful red and white Hummel number, trotted at Copenhagen’s Parken alongside Croatia in second-choice black. We’re leaving in a minute!

While waiting for kick off, how about some retro kit action. First, the Austrian Wunderteam of 1934…

Austria pose before beating France at the 1934 World Cup in Turin.  Matthias Sindelar is fifth from left.
Austria pose before beating France at the 1934 World Cup in Turin. Matthias Sindelar is fifth from left. Photography: Str (files)/AFP/Getty Images

… and the walking roosters (in Adidas) at Euro 84.

Michel Platini, who was super cool once, celebrates a winner against Denmark with William Ayache.
Michel Platini, who was super cool once, celebrates a winner against Denmark with William Ayache. Photography: Jean-Yves Ruszniewski/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

In the meantime, there’s really only one place we can go when it comes to Denmark…

Danish dynamite at the 1986 World Cup.
Danish dynamite at the 1986 World Cup. Composite: Colorsport/Rex/Shutterstock; Popperfoto/Getty Images; Bob Thomas/Getty Images

… while another style icon makes her first appearance on the world stage 12 years later.

Davor Suker gave plenty to France 98.
Davor Suker gave plenty to France 98. Photography: Colorsport/Shutterstock

Denmark-Croatia teams

Denmark: Schmeichel, Andersen, Mæhle, Christensen, Delaney, Eriksen, Skov Olsen, Damsgaard, Wass, Cornelius, Højbjerg.
Croatia: Livaković, Vrsaljko, Šutalo, Kramarić, Brozović, Pašalić, Jakić, Oršić, Ivanušec, Erlić. Juranovic.

Andreas Christensen, now formerly of Chelsea, returns for Denmark. Christian Eriksen, in the showcase, captain, while Martin Braithwaite starts on the bench. Croatia leave some big guns on their bench in Mateo Kovačić and Luka Modrić.

Teams Austria vs. France

Austria: Pentz, Trauner, Seiwald, Arnautovic, Alaba, Sabitzer, Weimann, Wöber, Laimer, Lainer, Schlager.
France: Lloris, Pavard, Konate, Griezmann, Tchouameni, Coman, Kamara, Saliba, Benzema, Diaby, Hernandez.

Marko Arnautović and Andreas Weimann return to the lead for the Austrian of Ralf Rangnick. Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate makes his debut for France, while new signing from Aston Villa starts for the first time. Kylian Mbappé is on the bench.

Preamble

We have A1 entertainment planned for you tonight. Literally A1 is Group A1 of the League of Nations, which means that…

Austria versus France
Denmark v Croatia

…although there are also three other matches tonight: Albania v Israel in B2, Belarus v Kazakhstan in C3 and Andorra v Liechtenstein in D1. We plan to focus on world champions France, who are in deep trouble after losing at home to Denmark and being held up in Croatia, although you never know how these things play out, so let’s just see where the atmosphere leads us. All five matches will kick off at 7.45pm BST. It’s on!