Andreas Cornelius came off the bench to win twice as Denmark battled back to defeat the League of Nations holders France 2-1 at the Stade de France on Friday night.
Karim Benzema had a first-half effort ruled out for offside but he made no mistake in the 51st minute, cutting from the right and playing one-two with Christopher Nkunku before dribbling past another pair of Danish defenders and firing home to give France. the lead.
Denmark were under pressure for most of the second half but they leveled through substitute Cornelius as he deftly flew home a pass from Pierre Hojbjerg, and he hit the offside trap to score the winner in the 88th minute.
France travel to Croatia for their next game on Monday, as the Danes face another away match against group leaders Austria, who defeated the Croats 3-0 in their opening.
Elsewhere in the Nations League, Memphis Depay scored a double as the The Netherlands ended 25 years without success against neighbors Belgium with a 4-1 beating of their hosts in the Nations League in Brussels.
Steven Bergwijn and Denzel Dumfries netted the other two goals as the Dutch finished Belgium’s nearly six-year unbeaten home record in a stern setback for the team, which topped the FIFA rankings for three years until it was recently disqualified.
Bergwijn hammered home from outside the box in the 40th minute to give the Dutch a well-deserved half-time lead before Depay and Dumfries added more in the second half in a decisive performance.
Belgium, who lost to Romelu Lukaku due to injury early, gained solace three minutes after a stop by Michy Batshuayi but were poorly exposed from behind and the result will come as a major setback during World Cup preparation later this year.
Meanwhile, Ralf Rangnick’s tenure as Austria‘S new coach got off to a perfect start when they hit Croatia 3-0 in their opening match of the new Nations League campaign.
Goals from Marko Arnautovic, Michael Gregoritsch and Marcel Sabitzer helped Austria move to the top of the League A Group One after Denmark reaped away a 2-1 victory against France in the other game.
Austria took the lead against the run of play just before half-time when Arnautovic made a solo run past the defense and took a shot from the edge of the box into the bottom right corner.
Substitute Gregoritsch doubled Austria’s lead in the 54th minute on the counter-attack with a good first-touch strike, while Sabitzer made it 3-0 three minutes later.
Midfielder Ivan Perisic, young star defender Josko Gvardiol and defender Sime Vrsaljko were unavailable for coach Zlatko Dalic due to injuries as Croatia suffered their first defeat since the Euro 2020 final last June.
Austria – who missed out on qualifying for the World Cup – were without David Alaba, who did not travel with the squad after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid last week.
In the evening two other fixtures, Moldova won 2-0 at Liechtenstein while 19-year-old Tomas Suslov scored the only goal of the game as Slovakia got their Nations League campaign off to a winning start in Belarus.
Earlier, Kazakhstan got their group C3 campaign off to a flying start when two second-half goals from Abat Aymbetov secured them a 2-0 home win against Azerbaijan.
Latvia forward Roberts Uldrikis also scored twice, in both halves, in his side’s opening Group D1 victory against Andorra in Riga, where Janis Ikaunieks’ late penalty seals a 3-0 success.
In the next round of fixtures, Belgium will host Poland in their second National League Group A4 match on Wednesday 8 June at 7.45pm while the Netherlands will visit Wales the same evening at 7.45pm in Cardiff.