Croatia Beats Tunisia on Penalties for Spot in Friendly Final against Egypt

Daniela Rogulj

Photo by Matija Habljak/PIXSELL

March 23, 2024 – Croatia beats Tunisia on penalties for a spot in the final of the international friendly tournament in Cairo. Croatia and Egypt meet on Tuesday.

Croatia faced Tunisia on Saturday at the international friendly tournament in Cairo. This was the first preparatory match of this year and is the first of four before the start of the European Championship in Germany. Tunisia defeated Croatia four years ago in Varaždin 2:1 and is 41st in the FIFA rankings.

Regardless of the friendly nature of the tournament, coach Zlatko Dalić expects serious play and wants a good result. Croatia has not played in Africa since 1996 when it won the international tournament alongside hosts Morocco and the Czech Republic.

The winner of the match between Croatia and Tunisia will face host Egypt in the final on Tuesday, March 26, while the loser will face New Zealand in the third-place match on the same day.


CROATIA (4-3-3): Livaković – Juranović, Gvardiol, Erlić, Sosa – Brozović, Kovačić, Modrić – Kramarić, Mario Pašalić, Ivanušec

TUNISIA (5-3-2): Ben Said – Kechrida, Haddadi, Bronn, Ghram, Abdi – Laidouni, Ben Romdhane, Mahmoud – Achouri, Ltaief

Match report

The stands were mostly empty in Cairo tonight with only around 1,000 fans reported. However everyone at the stadium cheered the second Luka Modrić touched the ball from the very first second of the game.

Croatia was dominant from the beginning and even secured their first corner kick in the 3rd minute. Tunisia’s defensive line was solid, making it difficult for Croatia’s attack to push through. Tunisia had their first attack in the 12th minute, which resulted in a corner kick.

Croatia’s first serious attempt came a minute later when Pašalić found Ivanušec on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot went into the hands of the goalkeeper. Gvardiol stopped a counterattack in the 16th minute, and Abdi missed an open goal in the 26th.

Croatia pressed from the 25th minute but Tunisia did as well. A corner resulted in a goal for Tunisia in the 32nd minute, which VAR ultimately called offside.

After a rocky patch, Croatia dominated Tunisia’s half again and forced their defense to low block. Kovačić’s shot was deflected out for a corner and the game was 0-0 going into halftime. Croatia had 72% possession in the first half and a 93% pass accuracy with 448 completed passes to Tunisia’s 165, but only one shot on target.

The only change Dalić made going into the second half was subbing off Livaković for Ivušić.

Two good chances in the 50th and 51st minutes came for Croatia. Juranović launched the ball into the box for Kramarič whose header went to the keeper. In the next play, Kramarić dribbled through the defence and passed to Pašalić, who headed wide of the goal. Croatia had finally picked up the pace of their game.

Dalić made substitutions in the 58th minute. Duje Ćaleta-Car went in for Erlić (groin injury), Vlašić for Modrić and Marco Pašalić for Brozović.

Ivanušec took an excellent shot in the 62nd minute which went just wide of the goal.

In the 68th minute, Kovačić and Ivanušec came off for Petković and Majer. Duje Ćaleta-Car headed over the goal after a corner two minutes later, and Gvardiol’s header went just over the crossbar.

A brilliant chance for Tunisia came in the 78th minute. The fresh-legged Ltaief was left unmarked in the box and fired with a header over the goal.

Petković missed a few chances and a rocket from a distance by Marco Pašalić missed the goal. The game ended 0-0 and went straight to penalties.

Vlašić took the first penalty for Croatia which was saved by the keeper. Kamarić, Petković, Majer, Mario Pašalić and Marco Pašalić scored for Croatia. Juranović also had his shot saved. Ivušić saved two Tunisia shots to bring Croatia the victory (5-4).

Croatia will play Egypt in the final on Tuesday.

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment