Croatia Beats Portugal 2-1 in Final Friendly before EURO 2024

Daniela Rogulj

Photo by Igor Kralj/PIXSELL

June 8, 2024 – Croatia beat Portugal 2-1 in the final friendly match before the Euros in Germany kick off next week.

Croatia will play their first match at EURO 2024 against Spain in exactly seven days. The tough opponent at the opening of the tournament was preceded by a strong dress rehearsal against Portugal in Lisbon.

Croatia and Portugal had met seven times before this match, without a win for our national team.

Dalić made a surprise decision in the defense before the match, with Marin Pongracić getting the advantage as center back ahead of Martin Erlić and Domagoj Vida. Ante Budimir was set to attack from the first minute instead of Bruno Petković, while Ivan Perišić was on the bench.


Croatia: Livaković – Stanišić, Šutalo, Pongracić, Gvardiol – Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić – Majer, Budimir, Kramarić

Portugal: Diogo Costa – Diogo Dalot, Rúben Dias, Gonçalo Inácio, Nuno Mendes – Vitinha, Palhinha, Bruno Fernandes – Bernardo Silva, Gonçalo Ramos, João Félix

Match report

Portugal took possession of the ball from the beginning and circled around Croatia’s penalty area. Joao Felix took the first shot, which was blocked by Pongracic.

Croatia was given a penalty in the 7th minute when Kovačić fell in the penalty area. VAR confirmed the decision, and Modrić scored to give Croatia the 1-0 lead.

Gvardiol saved Croatia in the 17th minute. Bernardo Silva was alone in front of Livaković and was about to shoot, but the left back deflected the ball into the corner.

Portugal had a few more dangerous attacks in the second half but Croatia played brilliantly. While Portugal held more possession, Croatia was much more dangerous in the first 45 minutes.

Portugal made four changes to start the second half – Jota, Leao, Semedo and Cancelo entered instead of Ramos, Felix, Mendes and Dalot. Croatia started the second half with the same team.

Portugal equalized in the 48th minute. Diogo Jota was found and scored from close range for 1-1.

In the 54th minute, Croatia made three changes. Mario Pašalić, Perišić and Sučić entered for Kramarić, Majer and Modrić.

Croatia retook the lead three minutes later. Pašalić fantasticly shot from a little over 16 meters, though Costa saved it with the help of the crossbar. However, Budimir was first to reach the deflection to score with his head for 2-1.

Dalić then introduced Vlašić and Perišić into the game. Vlašić shot solidly past the goal in the 77th minute. A much better chance for Croatia happened in the 82nd minute when Sučić was alone in front of the Portugal goalkeeper, but Diogo Costa stopped the shot with his foot.

The match ended 2-1 for Croatia.

Croatia’s opening match at the Euros is against Spain in Berlin on June 15th!


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