UEFA Nations League: Lukaku double powers Belgium against Iceland, France beats Croatia 2-1

Stand-in captain Romelu Lukaku;s double overpowered Iceland while Kylian Mbappe's late strike helped France overcome Croatia to move to 10 points in Group 3.

Stand-in captain Lukaku's brace meant Belgium moved to the top of the League A Group 2 standings following England's defeat at home to Denmark.   -  Twitter/ UEFA Nations League

Stand-in captain Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium got back to winning ways with a 2-1 away victory over Iceland in the Nations League on Wednesday.

Lukaku opened the scoring inside 10 minutes and added a penalty before halftime after Birkir Saevarsson had levelled for Iceland.

Belgium moved to the top of the League A Group 2 standings following England's defeat at home to Denmark that dropped Gareth Southgate's side down to third.

Iceland, who had lost all of its previous games in the competition, equalised within eight minutes of Lukaku's opener and full back Saevarsson had other chances in a sprightly performance.

The host was without coach Erik Hamren and his entire backroom team on the bench after an unnamed staff member contracted COVID-19.

Belgium, however, proved too powerful and moved to nine points from its four games in the group, two above Denmark and England.

READ | UEFA Nations League: Portugal brushes off Sweden, Eriksen penalty sinks 10-man England

Belgium's 13-match unbeaten run ended on Sunday when it lost to England at Wembley and travelled to Iceland with an injury-depleted squad, missing captain Eden Hazard and his deputy Kevin De Bruyne.

Lukaku proved an able replacement as he led from the front, using his strength to open the scoring in the ninth minute.

Toby Alderweireld lofted a pass from the halfway line to him inside the Iceland box and Lukaku was able to shrug off two defenders as he chested the ball down, managed to get a lucky bounce and then turned and powered it home.

A defence-splitting pass from Runar Mar Sigurjonsson set up the 35-year-old right back Saevarsson for the equaliser at the end of a neat move from the host.

John Dadi Bodvarsson might have given Iceland the lead 10 minutes later after Belgium was dispossessed on the edge of its area but his effort was blocked.

Eight minutes before halftime, Lukaku was hacked down by Holmar Eyjolfsson as he attempted a shot from a tight angle and instead won a penalty, which he then converted for his 55th international goal.

Mbappe strike gives France 2-1 win in Croatia 

 France stretched its unbeaten run against Croatia to eight games after a late goal by Kylian Mbappe gave the world champion a 2-1 win in the Nations League top-tier Group 3 match on Wednesday.

The result left France second in the group on 10 points from four games, behind Portugal on goal difference after the European champion brushed aside Sweden 3-0. Croatia has three points and the Swedes none.

Antoine Griezmann fired France into an eighth-minute lead when he drilled the ball home off the underside of the bar from 12 metres after Domagoj Vida failed to clear a Ferland Mendy cross from the right.

Croatia midfielder Nikola Vlasic equalised in the 65th, unleashing a sublime shot with the outside of his foot past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris after good work by Luka Modric and Josip Brekalo.

Substitute Paul Pogba missed a sitter for France, who beat Croatia 4-2 in the 2018 World Cup final and defeated it by the same score in the reverse Nations League fixture last month, before the visitor secured victory 11 minutes from time.

It was a crafty three-touch move as Pogba found Lucas Digne with a long pass from inside his own half and the left back volleyed a cross into the penalty area for Mbappe to slide in and steer the ball past keeper Dominik Livakovic.

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