The European Championship starts next Saturday for Belgium in St. Petersburg against Russia, and for Croatia a day later at Wembley against England.
Five days ago, Croatia played only 1:1 against Armenia.
“We made a historic result three years ago. This is not the same team that was at the time. We have a young team that has talent but needs time to play. I hope we repeat a good result. It is true that we are playing against the best team in the FIFA rankings and we have great respect for them, but we want to achieve the best result. It’s a big challenge for us, but the game is played six or seven days before the first match at the Euro, the most important thing is that there are no injuries,” said Dalic before the match.
Zlatko Dalic led the team in accordance with the announcements. Three changes were made compared to the Armenia friendly – Kovačić strengthened the midfield instead of Vlašić, Rebić played on the right wing instead of Brekalo, while Petković replaced Kramarić at the top of the attack.
Belgium: Courtois – Alderweireld, Denayer, Vertonghen – Castagne, Tielemans, Dendoncker, Chadli – Mertens, Carrasco – Lukaku
Croatia: Livaković – Vrsaljko, Vida, Ćaleta-Car, Barišić – Brozović, Kovačić – Rebić, Modrić, Perišić – Petković
In the first five minutes, Croatia controlled the game and didn’t allow Belgium to enter their half. Belgium’s first chance came in the 11th minute when Brozović was careless and gave the ball to Chadli, who hit over the goal from the edge of the penalty area.
Belgium became increasingly dangerous as the match continued and hit the crossbar twice in the 31st minute. Perišić threatened a minute later but his shot was blocked.
Belgium finally scored in the 38th minute. A mixup in the Croatia defense allowed Lukaku to score from close range for 1:0. Petković found Perišić for a chance in the 42nd minute but he was offside.
Gvardiol made his debut at left back instead of Barišić to start the second half and quickly confirmed his spot on the Croatia team. A great ball in the box by Gvardiol in the 52nd minute found the head of Petković who aimed at Courtois.
Mertens had a dangerous opportunity for Belgium moments later was weak in is shot.
Croatia looked good at the opening of the second half but still did not create opportunities. In the 61st minute, Dalić subbed on Pašalić, Vlašić and Kramarić for Modrić, Kovačić and Rebić.
Croatia possessed well in the 10 minutes that followed. Brekalo came on for Petković in the 69th minute. Vlašić shot for Croatia after what felt like ages, but it was an easy save for Courtois.
Oršić came on for Perišić in the 80th minute, and Eden Hazard entered the match for Belgium one minute later.
Belgium had a massive chance in the 88th minute but two brilliant saves by Livakovć kept it 1:0. Brekalo had Croatia’s best chance of the game in the 90th minute which was famously saved by Courtois. The match ended 1:0 for Belgium.
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