Spain beat Croatia to lift Nations League title

Serial winner Dani Carvajal converted the decisive spotkick to hand Spain a first title in more than a decade as they edged Croatia 5-4 in a penalty shootout to win the Nations League in Rotterdam on Sunday.

The 31-year-old, who has won five Champions League titles with Real Madrid, calmly chipped home Spain’s sixth kick of the shootout as they claimed their first silverware since the 2012 European Championship.

The final at the Feyenoord Stadium ended goalless after extra time, and defeat on penalties was a further heartbreak for an expectant Croatia, who were runners-up at the 2018 World Cup and third in Qatar last year, but are yet to win a title.

Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon first saved from Lovro Majer in the shootout, giving Aymeric Laporte a chance to win the contest, but the defender blasted his effort against the crossbar to leave it 4-4 after five kicks each.

But Simon came up trumps again with another save, this time from Bruno Petkovic, before Carvajal wrapped up victory.

“It was a very tight match, we knew we weren’t going to win easily,” said Simon.

Spain were Nations League runners-up two years ago to France and success will come as a major fillip after a disappointing World Cup in Qatar, where they were upset by Morocco in the last-16.

Spain should have opened the scoring in the 12th minute after stealing possession away from Croatia but Gavi dragged his shot wide.

A long ball from deep in Croatia’s half caught out Spain’s high defensive line and allowed Andrej Kramaric a breakaway chance in the 23rd minute but Laporte chased back to make a superb tackle.

In the second half, Croatia’s Ivan Perisic made headway down the left flank and provided an inviting cross that Mario Pasalic missed and Josip Juranovic followed up with a wild effort well wide of goal.

Spain substitute Ansu Fati added energy to their cause when he came on and he might have won the game in the 84th minute when Rodri set him up to shoot from close range, but Perisic was on the line to clear with goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic beaten.

Spain’s Nacho produced another goal-saving tackle in extra time to deny Majer, while at the other end Dani Olmo blasted over the bar from inside the opposing penalty area.

Spain finished the two-hour contest strongly as Dani Olmo had another chance and Rodri saw his shot deflected narrowly wide.

Defending champions US beat Canada in CONCACAF Nations League final

The United States beat Canada 2-0 on Sunday in Las Vegas to secure their second consecutive CONCACAF Nations League title.

First-half goals from Chris Richards and Folarin Balogun were enough to give the United States the victory in their first meeting with Canada in a tournament final.

Richards opened the scoring when he headed home a Gio Reyna corner in the 12th minute. Reyna was again the provider in the 34th minute when his through ball was dispatched by Balogun into the bottom corner.

The game was the last of long-time Canada captain Atiba Hutchinson’s international career. The 40-year-old, who helped his nation reach the 2022 World Cup after a 36-year absence and is Canada’s all-time caps leader with 104, came off the bench late in their semi-final win over Panama but did not feature on Sunday.

Mexico beat Panama 1-0 earlier on Sunday in the third-place match.

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